Cornell: Results Of Essential Watershed Study To Be Presented By Rutgers Scientist

Findings A Foundation For Comprehensive Management Plan As Rockland County Pursues Water Independence

Presentation Set For 5:30 P.M. On Dec. 14

New City, NY – The Rockland County Task Force on Water Resources Management will host a presentation by the environmental scientist who has been working on a local watershed study. The Task Force considers this is a significant step forward in the effort to develop a comprehensive water management plan as Rockland County pursues water independence.

The Task Force, headed by Rockland County Legislator Harriet Cornell, will meet at 5:30 p.m. sharp on Thursday, Dec. 14, in Room 301 at Clarkstown Town Hall, 10 Maple Ave. in New City.

Dr. Daniel Van Abs of Rutgers University will present his final report on the Preliminary Assessment of the Ramapo and Hackensack Watersheds in Rockland and Orange Counties.  The essential study provides a solid foundation for the next step - development of a comprehensive watershed assessment and management plan, which is critical to ensuring an adequate local water supply.

Dr. Van Abs has been interacting with Patricie Drake, Coordinator of the Task Force, and members of the Groundwater/Stormwater Committee, chaired by Allan Beers, Rockland County’s Director of Environmental Resources. Their expertise and comments on the findings have allowed Dr. Van Abs to refine his analysis.

“To have high quality drinking water and a sufficient water supply, we must protect source water and watersheds, while ensuring that water infrastructure - so critical to sustainability - is properly maintained,” Legislator Cornell said. “Dr. Van Abs has devoted his career as a researcher and licensed planner to these issues. His work will lead us to the watershed management plan that is so necessary for Rockland’s future.”

The Task Force formed in June 2014 following a successful grassroots effort to halt the construction of an expensive and energy-intensive water treatment plant proposed by United Water New York. It would have drawn its supply from the Hudson River.

The New York state Public Service Commission held hearings in Rockland in October 2013 on whether the plant was needed. Legislator Cornell, then Chair of the Legislature, laid out a plan for a government-community Task Force to plan Rockland’s own water future, exploring alternate ways of conserving water. In December 2015, the PSC ordered Suez Water (formerly United Water) to abandon the project.

The Task Force is devoted to identifying ways to implement meaningful reductions in the amount of water used in Rockland, including boosting conservation and reducing water loss due to leaky pipes and fixtures.