Upgrades to Help Reduce Usage
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd announced that nearly 4,000 new, high-efficiency bathroom fixtures have been installed at 28 public school buildings throughout the five boroughs which has resulted in an approximately 71 percent reduction in water use at each of the buildings, saving nearly half a million gallons of water each school day.
Work has begun to upgrade an additional 75 school buildings over the next 10 months, with a goal of reaching 500 buildings, and roughly 40,000 bathroom fixtures, by 2018, resulting in an estimated 4 million gallons of water conserved each school day.
The DEP is funding the $50 million program as part of a larger effort to reduce citywide water consumption by five percent prior to the anticipated shutdown of the Delaware Aqueduct, which conveys roughly half of the city’s drinking water, for repairs in 2021.
In addition to helping ensure the city has an adequate supply of healthy drinking water during the temporary shutdown of the Delaware Aqueduct, the five percent reduction in consumption will reduce the amount of electricity, chemicals, and other costs associated with operating the water system. It will also cut carbon emissions from the wastewater treatment process by more than 15,500 metric tons per year, the equivalent of removing 3,300 cars from the road or planting more than 400,000 trees and letting them grow for ten years.
“The critical investments we are making today will help to ensure a reliable supply of high quality drinking water for New York City for decades to come,” said Lloyd. “In addition, by using less water we are also helping to reduce our costs and the carbon footprint that is associated with treating the water prior to consumption and cleaning and disinfecting it after it’s used.”
One of the keys to ensuring a continued supply of healthy drinking water for the city’s growing population is a project to repair the leaking Delaware Aqueduct, which currently supplies about half the city’s drinking water.
The DEP has begun building two 800 foot deep shafts that will be used to construct a 2.5-mile bypass tunnel around a portion of the Delaware Aqueduct that is leaking in Roseton in Orange County. The project will also include repair work to fix leaks in Wawarsing, in Ulster County, from the inside of the existing tunnel.
The 2.5 mile bypass tunnel will run east from the Town of Newburgh in Orange County, under the Hudson River, to the Town of Wappinger in Dutchess County. In order to facilitate these repairs to the aqueduct, the tunnel must be temporarily shut down between 2021 and 2022.
In preparation for the shutdown, the DEP has developed a combination of conservation programs and supplemental supplies that will ensure an uninterrupted supply of water. The program was initially estimated to cost over $2 billion but through advances in the engineering and design of the bypass and the water supply projects to support the repair, the estimated cost has been reduced to approximately $1.5 billion.
Demand reduction initiatives complement the more than $10 billion invested in New York City’s water supply infrastructure over the last decade.
For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like the DEP on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ nycwater, or follow the agency on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.