Sapienza: “… Rome, Egypt, Babylon …”
SHOKAN – One of the biggest capital projects to hit the Catskills in 50 years was announced by officials Thursday in Shokan. A total of $750 million will be spent upgrading infrastructure in and around the Ashokan Reservoir, starting in 2023.
The work, which will take a decade to complete, comes the Ashokan turns a century old, noted acting NYC Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.
“When the city set out to build a Catskill water supply system in 1907, civic leaders said it would be the greatest engineering work having to do with water supply in the history of the world, Sapienza said. “They compared it to the great public works of Rome, Egypt, Babylon, and said New York City’s grand water supply in the Catskills would last for ages.”
Project highlights include engineering improvements and maintenance to the dams, dikes, headworks, intakes, spillway, and dividing weir.
Additionally, the J. Waldo Smith Monument will receive a facelift. This stone tower was originally installed as a surveying point during construction of the reservoir over 100 years ago.
Thursday’s announcement was held on the centennial anniversary of service for the New York City water supply system, which provides 1.1 billion gallons per day to 8.5 million downstate metropolitan residents.
Top brass from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection gathered near the scenic Frying Pan East Parking Lot, overlooking the reservoir, to announce the news. They were joined by federal, state and county representatives.
“Work like this is vital to the largest municipal water system in the United States,” said Sapienza.