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Division of Water

Mark Klotz, Director
Tom Cullen, Assistant Director

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Welcome to the Division of Water webpage! The Division conducts a variety of programs to protect and conserve New York's waters. On this page you will find information about the Division's programs and recent activities.

What's New in the Division of Water?

The Division of Water uses this page to highlight water-related information that we think may interest you. This page is updated weekly and topics are typically posted here for about 30 days. If a topic has a specific end date (such as a public comment period or an event), the description is removed after the end date.

New Trees for Tribs Initiative

DEC has launched a new Trees for Tribs program initiative, Buffer in a Bag, to help increase riparian buffers throughout New York State. Qualifying public and private landowners may apply for a free bag of 25 or 50 tree and shrub seedlings. Applications are due by 3 p.m. on April 3, 2019.

Draft Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan

DEC has announced the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve Draft Management Plan for public review and comment. This is an update of the 2009 plan and will guide the management of the Reserve for the next five years. Public comments will be accepted through March 15, 2019. For more information, including how to comment, view DEC's February 5 press release.

Source Water Buffer Funding Available

A total of $5,000,000 in funds are available through the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Source Water Buffer Program (leaves DEC website) for the purchase of conservation easements on agricultural lands that support, expand or enhance water quality protection of active public drinking water sources including but not limited to aquifers, watersheds, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and streams. Program funds will also be available for the implementation of Riparian Buffer Systems within the conservation easement area that will provide further protection to water quality.

Applications for funding will be accepted through January 2020 from Soil and Water Conservation Districts, or a group of Districts acting jointly.

Livestock Farm Water Quality Protection Funding Available

$18.4 million is available to help New York livestock farms implement water quality protection projects. The funding is provided through the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program (leaves DEC website). Applications are accepted through April 16, 2019.

New State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) General Permit

DEC is issuing a new Clean Water Act (CWA) SPDES General Permit for CAFOs, GP-0-19-001. The new CWA SPDES General Permit for CAFOs, GP-0-19-001, will replace the previous CWA SPDES General Permit for CAFOs, GP-0-16-002 on July 8, 2019. The Environmental Conservation Law SPDES General Permit for CAFOs, GP-0-16-001, will remain in full effect. For more information, view the January 30 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Pharmaceutical Take Back Boxes

Through its Pilot Pharmaceutical Take Back Program, DEC has placed over 250 pharmaceutical collection boxes in pharmacies, hospitals and long-term care facilities across the state to encourage the safe disposal of unused and expired drugs. This has kept five tons of unwanted medications out of home medicine cabinets, thereby reducing the potential of being abused and kept them out of NYS waters, including drinking water supplies.

The goal of the program is to: ensure safe, convenient disposal of unwanted medications; show retailers it's their responsibility to encourage safe and convenient medication disposal; and protect public health, public safety and the environment.

Do Your Part

For the location of an authorized disposal location near you, visit DEC's Safe Medication Disposal for Households webpage.

Water Well Contractor Program Registration

The DEC Water Well Contractor Program is currently accepting applications for the Certificate of Registration for the period April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020. Registration is required each year for all water well contractors who drill or repair water wells in New York State. The on-site contractor must be certified for the work that they are conducting (well drilling and/or pump installation). A Preliminary Notice must be filed prior to drilling a well and a Water Well Completion Report must be filed upon completion of water well drilling. For additional information, contact Water Well Program staff at 877-472-2619 or

N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Application Period

Applications are being accepted for the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship. In honor of the former Director of the Division of Water, up to $5,000 in scholarships is available to students pursuing graduate or doctoral degrees in environmental/civil engineering or environmental science concentrating on water quality who show a commitment to government service.

Scholarship applications are available on the NYWEA Scholarship webpage (leaves DEC website). Applications are due by February 28, 2019.

New WQIP Land Acquisition for Source Water Protection Toolkit

Recipients of Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grant funding to acquire land for source water protection can now utilize the WQIP Land Acquisition for Source Water Protection Toolkit webpage. DEC has developed standards and guidelines to aid WQIP Land Acquisition awardees with the development of documents necessary to receive approval for land purchases and/or conservation easements. These standards and guidelines will now be available through the toolkit webpage. DEC continues to develop additional guidelines and standards that will be added to this webpage once they are finalized.

Annual Water Withdrawal Reporting

The DEC Water Withdrawal Reporting Program is currently receiving water withdrawal reporting data for 2018. Reporting is required each year for non-agricultural facilities that have a withdrawal capacity of 100,000 gallons or more per day and agricultural facilities that use more than 100,000 gallons or more per day (30 day average). Agricultural facilities that use less than 100,000 gallons per day can Register by using the annual water withdrawal reporting form (PDF, 1 MB). For additional information, contact Water Withdrawal Reporting staff at 518-402-8182 or .

DEC and Peconic Land Trust Announce Preservation of Pine Barrens Land Critical to Protect Long Island's Sole Source Aquifer

DEC and the Peconic Land Trust have announced the preservation of a parcel in the Central Pine Barrens Core. The acquisition of this property will help protect Long Island's groundwater. The Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, parcel is the first in the state to be approved and purchased with funding from DEC's Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants that specifically target the protection of source waters.

New York Sea Grant Inviting Research Pre-Proposals

New York Sea Grant is now accepting research pre-proposals for its 2020-2021 Biennial Research Call. The main goal of New York Sea Grant's research program is to generate and provide valid scientific information to further the sustainable development, use, protection, conservation, and management of coastal resources. For more information and to apply visit New York Sea Grant's Funding Opportunities webpage (leaves DEC website). Pre-proposals are due by 4:30 PM on February 25, 2019.

Hudson River Estuary Access Grants

Approximately $750,000 of Natural Resource Damages funding is available for River Access grants through the Hudson River Estuary Program. This competitive grant opportunity will help communities within the general vicinity of the villages of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown implement priorities outlined in the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda, specifically to improve access to the tidal waters of the Hudson for boating, swimming, fishing and enjoyment of nature or wildlife-related recreation, or educational interpretation of the estuary for a range of people. Applications must be submitted in the NYS Grants Gateway (link leaves DEC website) by 3:00 PM on March 20, 2019.

Division Webpages

Carpenter Falls
Carpenter Falls

The Division of Water's webpages fall mainly into one of the two following locations:

  • Water Pollution Control - Information, guidance material and forms about the programs the Division of Water administers to control sources of water pollution.
  • Lands and Waters - Water resource information is divided into the following categories:
    • Watersheds, Lakes Rivers: Information on NYS watersheds and other water bodies
    • Oceans & Estuaries: NYS marine and estuary resource information
    • Groundwater: Aquifer and groundwater information & resources
    • Dam Safety, Coastal & Flood Protection: Program information related to flood protection, floodplain development, dam safety, and coastal management
    • Water Supply & Reclamation: Information on protecting New York's public water supplies and drought information

Division's Mission

The Mission of the Division of Water is to protect and conserve the water resources of New York State. This mission is accomplished through a wide range of programs and activities. Some of these are statewide in their scope and apply to all parts of the state. Other efforts are targeted to address water quality and quantity issues in specific regions of the state, focusing on waterbodies or watersheds where these issues are of particular concern. Still other programs target specific contaminants (e.g., mercury) or sources (e.g., stormwater runoff) or impacts (e.g., acid rain) of pollution.

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