Dear Deputy Commissioner Rush:
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) has indicated that for this time of year, normal storage capacity for the reservoir system is 76.8%, but because of above average rainfall for the last several months, the system-wide capacity currently is nearing 93%.
The National Weather Service has announced Hurricane Florence is making its final approach to the Carolinas and warns of life-threatening, catastrophic flooding. While it is unclear the potential effects Florence might have on Upstate New York, I remain concerned that any substantial rainfall in the watershed will pose a significant flooding risk to downstream towns and communities. I know forecasting reservoir levels can be a difficult task, and I commend NYCDEP for the use of advanced technology that increases your ability to respond to changing conditions and forecasts.
At this time, has there been any change in the scheduled releases to accommodate for the potential added volume of Florence? If not, is NYCDEP prepared to take immediate action to reduce reservoir levels and maintain appropriate flows to protect downstream communities from extensive flooding?
Thank you for your efforts to meet with local stakeholders to discuss their ongoing partnerships and collaborations to recognize and improve the impacts of the reservoir system. I am confident that NYCDEP will continue to support protocols that balance flood protection with the drinking water needs of its 9 million customers.