Thank You!
Search OCA:
Get Local!

Find Local News, Events & Green Businesses on OCA's State Pages:

OCA News Sections

Flexible Flow Plan Could Ease Delaware River Flooding

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, April 2, 2008 (ENS) - With New York City reservoirs near full capacity, officials in the Delaware River basin states should act to better protect downstream communities in view of the rain that is forecast for southeastern New York over the next two weeks, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell said Wednesday.

On April 1, seasonal triggers, or guidelines that direct when to release water, went into effect. They restrict releases from the reservoirs at any time other than when completely full. Those triggers are intended to ensure adequate water supplies are available during the summer months.

As chair of the Delaware River Basin Commission, Governor Rendell called on officials from Delaware, New Jersey, New York and New York City to support a "commonsense plan" to modify the guidelines to protect against potential flooding on the main stem of the river. full, additional rain could create problems downstream."

In a letter sent today, Governor Rendell asked officials from the basin states and New York City to sign an agreement that would temporarily modify the flexible flow management plan that was put into effect last year.

Under the flexible flow management plan, releases in April are designed to mitigate reservoir overflows, yet ensure reservoirs are at full capacity by May 1. It is expected that typical spring rain throughout the month will replenish the water supply to meet demand increases beginning in May.

If Governor Rendell's request is approved, New York City could make more frequent and higher volume reservoir releases through April.

Not everyone is in favor of Rendell's plan. Sharron Dallas, a member of Aquatic Conservation Unlimited, a local nonprofit group working to protect the Delaware River, wrote a letter to the editor of the "Philadelphia Inquirer" that says he is "off base."

"Hundreds of comments were sent to the Delaware River Basin Commission demanding, among other things, lower water levels in reservoirs. There is more than enough water! Will the governor sit down with us and go over the facts?" asks Dallas.

"The flexible-flow management plan the governor so proudly mentions will threaten Philadelphia's water," Dallas writes.

"The plan would rescind New York City's responsibility to maintain the flow of water at the Montague and Trenton gauges," she writes. "This would jeopardize a healthy flow of the river, especially when New York City overuses the reservoirs or when there is a bona fide drought in the lower basin."

"The flexible flow management plan was designed to provide greater flood protection, improve fisheries management, and allow for greater flexibility to address future water needs without compromising the reliability of the public water supply for New York City and Philadelphia," says Rendell.

The plan was temporarily instituted in September by the parties to a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decree that governs diversions and releases from the New York City's Delaware basin reservoirs.
Flexible flow is one of the recommendations developed by the Delaware Flood Task Force formed by Governor Rendell following three floods that devastated the region from 2004 to 2006.

The Delaware River Basin Commission is working to institute the flexible flow management plan through a formal rulemaking process. View the plan online at: www.state.nj.us/drbc.

"Under the plan we enacted last fall, we now manage the reservoirs in a way that accounts for our needs for drinking water, recreation and flood protection," said Rendell. "Since the reservoirs are already at capacity, and with the April showers we expect every year, we could continue to release water and not jeopardize our supply as the summer gets under way."

The Delaware River is the longest free-flowing river in the eastern United States. It originates on the western slopes of the Catskill mountains in eastern New York and extends 330 miles from the confluence of its East and West branches at Hancock, New York to the mouth of the Delaware Bay.

Through the Delaware River Basin Commission, created in 1961, the federal government and the four Basin states - New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware - jointly manage Basin assets and problems.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved. Flexible flow is one of the recommendations developed by the Delaware Flood Task Force formed by Governor Rendell following three floods that devastated the region from 2004 to 2006.

The Delaware River Basin Commission is working to institute the flexible flow management plan through a formal rulemaking process. View the plan online at: www.state.nj.us/drbc.

"Under the plan we enacted last fall, we now manage the reservoirs in a way that accounts for our needs for drinking water, recreation and flood protection," said Rendell. "Since the reservoirs are already at capacity, and with the April showers we expect every year, we could continue to release water and not jeopardize our supply as the summer gets under way."

The Delaware River is the longest free-flowing river in the eastern United States. It originates on the western slopes of the Catskill mountains in eastern New York and extends 330 miles from the confluence of its East and West branches at Hancock, New York to the mouth of the Delaware Bay.

Through the Delaware River Basin Commission, created in 1961, the federal government and the four Basin states - New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware - jointly manage Basin assets and problems.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.  

For more information on this topic or related issues you can search the thousands of archived articles on the OCA website using keywords: