The releases will protect property owners on the Lower Esopus who are experiencing flooding from Hurricane Irene from the potential impacts of additional rainfall
Kingston, NY –Currently the Ashokan Reservoir is spilling into the lower Esopus. In an effort to ensure additional flood protection from future storms which are likely this time of year, this morning, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein requested that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) begin to release water from the Ashokan Reservoir. In response NYSDEC and NYCDEP agreed to make the necessary releases. This action will lower water levels and create additional storage capacity in the reservoirs that will reduce the potential for flooding downstream.
"These releases are being requested to help ensure the safety of Ulster County’s residents along the lower Esopus and are not related to turbidity control for the New York City water supply," said County Executive Hein. "Hurricane Irene’s impact on water levels in the reservoir leads to the conclusion that in order to protect the already impacted downstream landowners on the lower Esopus, it is prudent to lower the water levels in the Ashokan Reservoir to accommodate likely future storm events. Once again, I appreciate that DEP and DEC responded promptly to my request and are working with me to protect the residents of Ulster County."
Releases are expected to begin by mid-day on Friday September 2, 2011 and have been authorized by NYSDEC to continue for a week. Everyone who lives on or uses the Lower Esopus should be cautioned that water levels may rise.