New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers recently announced on his Facebook page that New Paltz received $15,000 grant from Hudson River Valley Greenway to perform a Reservoir Capacity Analysis.
Rogers said that the study will be used to determine whether New Paltz should increase their water storage area permitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) by using their upper reservoirs or investing in an additional water storage tank.
The analysis will establish storage, treatment capabilities and daily water usage. The study will also observe the New Paltz watershed yields and tributaries during standard weather conditions all through extreme conditions, such as droughts, to assess the storage feasibility. The reservoir capacity analysis will cost around $15,000 to $25,000.
This was a joint application with the Village and Town of New Paltz. Both boards decided to apply to the Hudson River Valley Greenway for a grant to complete this project this past September.
According to the Hudson River Valley Greenway website, the state agency was “created to assist with the development of a voluntary regional strategy for preserving scenic, natural, historic, cultural and recreational resources while encouraging compatible economic development.” The Hudson River Valley Greenway gives grants to different entities when they apply for certain projects to be completed.
Since some of the New Paltz watershed is held in public trust through the Mohonk Preserve, which offers natural resource protection value, the study may provide recommendations for additional protection to be applied to currently unprotected watershed areas.
Rogers claims that this study is necessary because currently only about a week’s worth of water can be stored in the watershed. If New Paltz had more storage capacity, both the local municipality and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would benefit. New Paltz buys about 60 to 70 percent of all water used from the DEP and the rest is locally sourced from the watershed, which fills up the reservoirs, so if the Village and Town had larger reservoirs then it could store more rainfall for water usage.
“This fall [has] been a great example. It’s been raining so much that our reservoirs are just spilling over,” Rogers said. “So instead of wasting that water, if we could collect it then we could buy less water from the DEP.”
New Paltz officials have reached out to engineering firms to aid in the reservoir capacity analysis. They are currently waiting to hear back from them so they can make a selection based on the proposals received from the candidate firms to allow them to move forward with the study.
Additionally the Catskill Aqueduct maintenance is currently in the midst of the first shutdown for an eight-week project, according to Rogers. The reservoirs have been “topped up,” and based on how much water the town and village use, the DEP will halt construction to allow for the reservoirs to be filled and then proceed with construction again. Future shutdowns are anticipated to occur in fall of 2019 and 2020.