Living City: A Billion Gallons A Day
By Melanie Burford
It is considered the gold standard of urban water systems. It covers parts of eight New York counties and a sliver of Connecticut. It includes 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes, which can be used to feed the water supply. It has the capacity to hold approximately 580 billion gallons of water. And 9.4 million people depend on it when they turn on their taps.
It is the New York City watershed, where rainwater and snowmelt make a three-month journey through gravity-powered aqueducts stretching more than 100 miles from the Catskills to the edges of New York City. The modern-day system was constructed in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, as low-lying upstate farms and small towns were flooded to create reservoirs. From there, the water is channeled into underground aqueducts that are considered engineering marvels. The water is then held in smaller reservoirs and finally distributed through huge pipes that feed the five boroughs.
Melanie Burford was Series Producer and Script Editor for the Living City series which Blue Chalk produced in collaboration with The New York Times video department and metro desk. The six-part series looks at a range of major New York city and state infrastructure projects, from subways to waterways, waste management to steam systems. “A Billion Gallons a day” is the fifth video in the “Living City” series.