New York City Water Supply and Conservation: The History and What to Be Proud Of

With a population of more than eight million people in its metropolitan area, New York City plays host to some of the most demanding water needs anywhere in the world. Given the inherent problems with maintaining clean water supplies in today’s industrial landscape, excellent water conservation programs are a must for such a city.

Luckily for New Yorkers, the Big Apple has long been the crown jewel of American water conservation efforts, putting forth a host of programs over the years to help citizens, private and corporate alike, to make the most out of the water they’re using and teaching them how to reduce use of clean water to ensure a wet and welcoming future.

Water Supply and Conservation

The History of New York Water Conservation

With most major construction taking place between 1840 and 1965, New York City spent many years building what is arguably the world’s most reliable urban water supply system. Given its constantly increasing population size, city planners and engineers were always well-aware that conservation efforts would be required to help the city sustain its water supply for the sake of its citizens and the expansion of the city’s water system reflected this throughout the years as it grew alongside its citizenry.

With the so-called “dust bowl” years of the 1930s behind them, city officials increased their efforts towards conserving and better utilizing clean water for the good of all, culminating in New York City’s currently unbeatable water treatment policies and system and giving New Yorkers of both today and the future a comforting feeling as their city continues to thrive and grow.

New Yorkers have been always very proud of the city water conservation efforts, and Historic Fountain in the Central Park Reservoir, one of the best-known New York City attractions, is one of the oldest monuments of the City’s ecology.

3 Water-Conserving Efforts New Yorkers Should Be Especially Proud Of

Water Supply

New York City stands above its contemporary urban districts in many ways where the conservation of natural resources like clean water are concerned; here are three water-conserving efforts that New Yorkers should be especially proud of:

1. The New York City Water and Soil Conservation District

Water Conservation

Recognizing that the conservation of natural resources would determine the success or failure of a city the size of New York in years to come, city officials declared New York City a water and soil conservation district in 1990, joining 3000 other districts and municipalities in their effort to sustain current quality of life measurements while ensuring that future generations would have the natural resources necessary for them to continue to find urban comfort and success.

2. Financial and Tax Incentives for Businesses

Water Conservation

Some of the heaviest users of water in any city are the industrial and business citizens of the region and this fact has been long recognized in New York City. Offering tax breaks and rate reductions for buildings that use less water and recycle more of what they do use, the Big Apple has long been a leader among its peers in its encouragement of the involvement of its corporate citizens in the effort to maintain healthy and abundant reservoirs and waterways.

3. The EPA-NYC WaterSense Program

The EPA-NYC WaterSense Program

In a special partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, New York City faces no competition when discussing urban centers’ efforts to educate their population on best practices and smart efforts towards water conservation. From online resources to town hall gatherings and information sessions, every New Yorker has the ability to become freely educated on how best to utilize the city’s water supply, culminating in a water-smart population with the tools to maintain that title for many years to come.


In a modern world facing an uncertain future where natural resources are concerned, New Yorkers stand out as a population of people working to create a safer and more viable future for generations to come. With the city shining as a beacon to others around the world as more and more regions recognize that dwindling supplies of clean water present a troublesome future, New Yorkers past and present have much to take pride in where the conservation of natural resources, especially water, are concerned!

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