Slow the Flow: SUNY New Paltz will join local effort to reduce water consumption

As the Village of New Paltz prepares to seek alternate water sourcing ahead of a Catskill Aqueduct shutdown and repair that will begin in October 2018, SUNY New Paltz is actively participating in reduction efforts through a campaign aimed at cutting water usage on campus.

The Office of Campus Sustainability will lead a new Slow the Flow campaign on campus this fall, aimed at empowering students, faculty and staff with easy tips and tricks they can use to reduce their water consumption and make a real difference in the community.

The campaign will urge employees and students living on campus to adopt simple habits, like taking shorter showers, avoiding letting tap water run, and observing and reporting leaky faucets and running toilets, to help lessen the College’s share of regional water usage.

These measures are necessary because the New York City Department of Environmental Protection will soon initiate an extensive repair process, called the Upstate Water Supply Resiliency Project, to address leaks and upgrade water infrastructure that serves the NYC metro region.

The massive project includes a three-year (2018-2020) renovation of the Catskill Aqueduct, which runs from the Ashokan Reservoir, in central Ulster County, south to the Kensico Reservoir, in Westchester County, and is the primary water source for the Village of New Paltz.

As the largest single water user in the Village, SUNY New Paltz has been an active participant in the effort to prepare for the changes in water sourcing. Facilities Operations staff work tirelessly to identify and stop water leaks across campus, and Sodexo has taken steps to conserve water in campus dining facilities. The Slow the Flow campaign builds on these successes by educating and engaging students in water conservation.

The first phase of the Catskill Aqueduct repair will take place over 10 weeks beginning in October 2018. While repairs are ongoing, New Paltz will have limited access to water from the Ashokan Reservoir. The Village will make use of a nearby reservoir on Mountain Rest Road, which has a water capacity of only about two weeks based on current usage.

To maintain service to the New Paltz area, the 10-week repair on the Aqueduct will take place on an alternating schedule of 10 days on, four days off. The pauses will allow water to flow and refill the smaller, Mountain Rest reservoir that will supply New Paltz.

Repairs on the Aqueduct will ramp up with additional 10-week shutdowns in the falls of 2019 and 2020. The Town and Village of New Paltz have been working to secure alternate water sources during those periods, either through the use of a wellfield backup supply or a temporary pipeline connecting to the Delaware Aqueduct.

Read more about the Upstate Water Supply Resiliency Project at the website of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.