New York City Watershed Agreement

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The New York City Watershed Agreement: Protecting Our Water Supply

The New York City Watershed Agreement is a landmark agreement that is critical in keeping the city`s water supply clean and safe. This agreement was signed in 1997 and is a successful example of how stakeholders can work together to protect the environment.

What is the New York City Watershed?

The New York City Watershed is an area of land that covers more than 2,000 square miles and provides more than 90% of the city`s drinking water. The watershed includes forests, farms, and small towns in upstate New York.

The water from the watershed is collected in a series of reservoirs and aqueducts, which transport it to the city. However, the water from the watershed is vulnerable to pollution from various sources, including agriculture, industrial activities, and residential development.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for managing the watershed and ensuring that the water is safe to drink. However, the DEP cannot do this alone. It is essential to work with local communities, farmers, and other stakeholders to protect the watershed.

The New York City Watershed Agreement

In 1997, the city, state, and federal government, as well as environmental groups and local communities, signed the New York City Watershed Agreement. The agreement is a multi-faceted approach to protecting the water supply by reducing pollution in the watershed.

The agreement includes a variety of measures, such as:

– Providing funding for farmers to implement best management practices to reduce pollution from agricultural activities

– Restricting development in sensitive areas to protect water quality

– Implementing a comprehensive monitoring program to track water quality and identify potential problems

– Investing in infrastructure improvements to reduce pollution from wastewater treatment plants and other sources

The New York City Watershed Agreement also created the Watershed Agricultural Council, which works directly with farmers in the watershed to implement best management practices. The Council provides technical assistance, education, and financial incentives to help farmers reduce pollution from their operations.

The Results

The New York City Watershed Agreement has been hugely successful in protecting the city`s water supply. Since the agreement was signed, water quality has significantly improved, and there have been no significant violations of drinking water standards.

The Watershed Agricultural Council has been particularly effective in reducing pollution from agricultural activities. Through the Council`s efforts, more than 1,000 farms have implemented best management practices, resulting in a 47% reduction in phosphorus in the reservoirs.


The New York City Watershed Agreement is a vital example of how stakeholders can work together to protect the environment and public health. By implementing a multi-faceted approach to reducing pollution in the watershed, the agreement has been successful in ensuring that the city`s water supply is safe and clean.

Moving forward, it is essential to continue to invest in the watershed and work with local communities to protect this critical resource. By doing so, we can ensure that future generations have access to safe and clean drinking water.