Date of Award



Edward Van Buren


New York City is one of the largest and busiest cities in the world. It is an old city that grew exponentially in size and population since founded and has since needed constant restructuring and construction. Like any large city, water was soon a resource that needed to be harnessed and brought in for health, hygiene, and many other reasons. Considering the geography of the small rocky island, water reservoirs from surrounding areas were an attractive option. Luckily this was a successful plan as the few and small reservoirs on Manhattan were not enough to maintain the enormous city that was growing up around them. New York’s water supply is fascinating. Parts of the system are over a century old and others are under construction still. The tunnels, aqueducts, and reservoirs are all sufficient for the stresses of New York but a problem arises when water is on its way out of the city. Sewers are part of an outdated CSO network that regularly spews untreated sewage into the surrounding rivers. There are efforts to make needed changes but what needs to be done and how quickly it will in fact change is another story. New laws, environmental policies, and limited space have made building aqueducts, sewers, water treatment centers, and other necessities harder than in the past. This makes change slow but safe. Water is of the upmost important to every aspect of New York life and it needs to be treated as such.