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Warren County wants New York City reservoirs kept below 90%

By Joe McDonald, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 24 2013 02:17:47 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2013 02:32:47 PM CDT
BELVIDERE, N.J. -

Calling New York City's water management policies "unconscionable," Warren County Freeholders Wednesday night said they want the city's reservoirs kept at or below 90 percent of capacity to give communities along the flood-prone Delaware River a better chance of escaping flooding in the future.

During a brief discussion before taking a vote, Jason Sarnoski, freeholder director, said New York City's water needs are placing people and property downstream in jeopardy.

The Freeholders' resolution approved Wednesday night calls on the governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to order New York City to keep the water levels in its reservoirs at or below 90 percent throughout the year.

According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the reservoirs that drain into the Delaware River are currently between 70 percent and 80 percent of capacity.

In recent years, communities along the Delaware River, notably in Easton, among others, have been hit with severe flooding, not once but three times.

There have been no recent floods, but that does not mean it will not happen again, said Freeholder Richard Gardner.

"There are no problems now," Gardner said. "Only in time, there will be problems."

The resolution, in part, states that the management of those reservoirs is a "significant factor" in flooding in Warren County, creating "an unnecessary and dangerous threat" of life and property to people living downstream.

The management levels of the reservoirs are subject to a U.S. Supreme Court decree in 1954 that involves Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and New York City as parties.

Besides the state governors, the freeholders said they are sending a copy of their resolution to Sussex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Burlington and Camden counties in New Jersey; Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Northampton, Bucks, Philadelphia, Delaware and Chester counties in Pennsylvania; and Delaware, Sullivan and Orange counties in New York.