For the next nine days (until Christmas eve), residents and businesses using New Paltz’s municipal water should minimize use to support repairs inside the Catskill Aqueduct.
During parts of autumn and winter for the past three years, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection has shut down the Catskill Aqueduct to clean the aqueduct, replace century-old valves and repair minor leaks. New Paltz buys approximately 60% of its water from the Catskill Aqueduct.
During these annual shutdowns, DEP has used a pumping system to send water back to New Paltz, ensuring it has an adequate supply.
That pumping system will not be available during the next nine days, which means New Paltz will be sustained by the reservoirs on Mountain Rest Road. “To ensure that local sources of water meet our needs, we are asking all our neighbors and customers to limit their use until Christmas Eve,” said New Paltz mayor Tim Rogers. “The pumping system is being shut off for a rather unique and tricky part of DEP’s repair.”
Rogers explained that a specially trained team of divers will plunge more than 300 feet into part of the aqueduct to remove a valve, install a plug and perform an inspection with a remote-controlled vehicle. For their safety, these divers must remain in a pressurized environment for the next couple weeks to acclimate their bodies to conditions that are more than ten times the normal atmospheric pressure that our bodies feel on a typical day.
“This is the most technically complex effort to rehabilitate the Catskill Aqueduct since it was first activated in 1915,” said Rogers. “Help from our community in New Paltz is key to making the work happen successfully. Please do all that you can over the next several days to minimize your use of water. This work ensures that we will have a reliable supply of water for many more decades to come.”