City To Increase Water Delivery Infrastructure

City now investing $800 million on new water mains over next two years, a $130 million increase

The de Blasio Administration today announced the City will be constructing new water mains and increasing staffing as part of several steps in the efforts to ensure the continued reliability of the City’s water delivery system. This initiative brings the City’s capital investment in new water mains and related infrastructure to $800 million over the next two fiscal years

“New York City water is famous for its drinkability,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We must ensure our infrastructure keeps it where it is supposed to be – en route to New Yorkers homes and not spilling out all over the sidewalk. Our investments will continue to bring down water main breaks and bring New Yorkers their water safely.”

A contractor works to repair a damaged waterline leading to two apartment buildings along Hull Avenue.–Photo by David Greene

“This new effort will further cement New York City as one of the country’s leaders in water main systems and infrastructure,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “With more than 8.5 million people who call New York City home, infrastructure that can continue to withstand the daily and long-term stresses is essential.”

“New York City’s water delivery system is not only admired because it is an engineering marvel, but also because it reliably serves more than 8.5 million people about 1 billion gallons of high quality water every day of the year,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.  “Mayor de Blasio’s additional capital commitments today will ensure that we can continue to build new, stronger water mains while expanding our inspection protocol so that we can continue to reliably deliver the champagne of tap water to every building across the five boroughs.” 

Water streams down East 198 Street after an early morning water main break in Bedford Park.–Photo by Jim Velez

New York City has one of the most reliable water main systems in the country, far outperforming the national average. Large cities across the United States average 25 breaks for every 100 miles of water main while the industry has set a best practices goal of 15 breaks for every 100 miles of main. With approximately 6,800 miles of water mains, New York City averages 6.6 breaks for every 100 miles of water main.  There are several reasons for the strong performance of the City’s system, including the requirement that the water mains are built with the strongest material available and the maintenance of a consistent pressure grade in order to reduce the fluctuations that could lead to breaks.

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