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New York's abundant rivers, streams, lakes and coastal waters are used for recreation, fishing, tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. Dams and other infrastructure help us manage our waters.

Aerial view of river

Though plentiful, the water resources of the state are threatened by chemical contaminants and other pollutants from a wide range of sources.

The Division of Water provides various programs that track the quality of the waters, identify and investigate sources of pollution, control these sources and develop strategies to address water quality threats. DEC programs regulate and provide guidance on water supply withdrawal. DEC also manages floodplains and coastal areas to reduce flood risk to protect New Yorkers from coastal and inland flooding.

Water Webpages

In addition to the pages listed in the left column, these webpages lead to information about water resources in New York State:

Map of NYS showing all major watersheds

What's New in the Division of Water?

This section 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 Upgrades and Functionality for DECInfo Locator

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced new upgrades and functionality for the online DECinfo Locator tool that provides enhanced access to DEC documents and public data about the environment and outdoor recreation resources. DECinfo Locator was launched a year ago with over 50 data layers and now boasts more than 65, with more on the way.

Water-related data layers include:

  • Wastewater Facilities (SPDES permits)
  • Water Withdrawal Annual Reports
  • Dams and Associated Regulatory Program Data
  • Water Inventory/Priority Waterbody List (WI/PWL)
  • Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
  • Regulatory Tidal Wetlands

To access the mapping application, visit the DECinfoLocator webpage.

Webinar Announced: NYS Perspective on FEMA Community Rating System

Local decision makers can learn how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Rating System can help NYS communities reduce flood risks and save on insurance costs at a webinar to be held on September 22 at 10 a.m. The NYS Environmental Finance Center, NYS Water Resources Institute and the NYS Floodplain and Stormwater Managers Association collaborated to provide this webinar. More information is on the Environmental Finance Center's website (leaves DEC's website).

New Milestone for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Mitigation Announced

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and Clarkson University will deploy new technologies to combat harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake Neatahwanta in Oswego County this summer. In 2019, Governor Cuomo challenged these premier research institutions to use their scientific expertise in water quality to develop new and innovative technologies to reduce the impact of HABs. SUNY ESF and Clarkson University will study the effectiveness of their experimental inventions this summer. Learn more about this project at DEC's Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Mitigation Studies webpage.

Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds Draft Intended Use Plans for Federal Fiscal Year 2021

The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), DEC and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) are pleased to announce the availability of the Draft Federal Fiscal Year 2021 Intended Use Plans (IUPs) for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The CWSRF and DWSRF programs are available to municipalities and certain non-municipal entities in New York State to finance water quality and drinking water related projects.

The Draft IUPs include lists of projects that could receive financing between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, the next IUP financing period. Revisions to the Hardship Policies associated with the IUPs are also available for public comment.

Eligible entities interested in financing one or more projects not listed in the Draft CWSRF IUP or Draft DWSRF IUP should submit the appropriate IUP project listing information as soon as possible but no later than September 21, 2020. Written comments on the Draft IUPs must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. September 21, 2020.

For more information, including how to submit comments, view the August 5th Environmental Notice Bulletin.

New Harmful Algal Bloom (HABs) Mitigation Study on Chautauqua Lake

DEC and the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), led by the Engineer Research and Development Center, has announced a collaborative project to study an innovative HAB removal technology called Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment and Transformation System (HABITATS) on Chautauqua Lake. The system is designed to collect algae-laden water near the surface, clarify and clean the water, then return the water back to the waterbody. Learn more about HABITATS at DEC's Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Mitigation Studies webpage.

New York Harmful Algal Blooms Notification and Reporting System

DEC is once again using an online Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) map and reporting system to inform the public about HABs locations in New York. Dubbed "NYHABS," the reporting system features an interactive map that is updated daily with reports of HABs.

DEC is asking the public and trained algal bloom samplers to send reports of HABs with photos electronically via a simple, mobile phone-friendly form. After DEC and Department of Health (DOH) evaluate the reports, they are posted to NYHABS.

When it comes to HABs, DEC encourages New Yorkers to:

  • Know It - HABs vary in appearance from scattered green dots in the water, to long, linear green streaks, pea soup or spilled green paint, to blue-green or white coloration.
  • Avoid It - People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algal scums on the surface.
  • Report It - The public should report a suspected HAB through the NYHABs online reporting form available on DEC's website. Report health concerns related to HABs to DOH at harmfulalgae@health.ny.gov, or contact your local health department.

Most algae blooms are harmless. However, exposure to toxins and other substances from certain HABs can make people and animals sick.

For more information about HABs, visit DEC's Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) webpage. You can download the HABs brochure and program guide - which includes information and links to resources regarding bloom prevention, management and control - from the webpage.

Division of Water 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.

Division of Water Bureaus

Bureau of Flood Protection and Dam Safety

The Bureau of Flood Protection and Dam Safety cooperates with federal, state, regional, and local partners to protect lives and property from floods, coastal erosion and dam failures through floodplain management and both structural and non-structural means.

  • Coastal Erosion and Floodplain Management Section - The Coastal Erosion branch of this section works to reduce coastal erosion and storm damage to protect lives, natural resources, and properties through structural and non-structural means. The Floodplain Management branch is responsible for reducing flood risk to life and property through proper management of activities including development in flood hazard areas, and review and development of revised flood maps.
  • Dam Safety Section - Responsible for reviewing repairs and modifications to dams, and assuring that dam owners operate and maintain dams in a safe condition through inspections, technical reviews, enforcement, and emergency planning.
  • Flood Control Projects Section - Responsible for reducing flood risk to life and property through construction, operation and maintenance of flood control facilities.

Bureau of Water Assessment Management

The mission of the Bureau of Water Assessment Management is to monitor the waters of the state, review data and information to evaluate these waters, and report on the quality and the ability of these waters to support uses. The Bureau also conducts research to better define the nature of pollutants, sources and impacts on waters and their uses, and provides support for the development of management strategies to enhance and protect these waters.

  • Streams Monitoring and Assessment Section
  • Lakes Monitoring and Assessment Section
  • Standards and Analytical Support Section
  • Water Assessment and Implementation Section

Bureau of Water Permits

  • Central Permits Section - Covers SPDES permits in DEC Region 4; SPDES General Permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) (ECL GP-0-16-001 / CWA GP-0-19-001), Private, Commercial, or Institutional (PCI) Facilities discharging 1,000 to 10,000 gallons per day of sanitary waste to groundwater (GP-0-15-001), Pesticide Applications to Surface Waters of New York State (GP-0-16-005), and Vessel Discharges for most commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length that operate in US waters; NYS Design Standards For Intermediate Sized Wastewater Treatment Systems; Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2).
  • South Permits Section - Covers SPDES permits in DEC Region 1; SPDES Phase II General Permits for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity (GP-0-15-002), Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) (GP-0-15-003); Multi Sector General Permit (MSGP) for Stormwater Discharges associated with Industrial Activity except construction activity (GP-0-17-004); DEC stormwater training; Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).
  • West Permits Section - Covers SPDES permits in DEC Regions 2,3,8, and 9; asset management; disinfection.
  • North Permits Section - Covers SPDES permits in DEC Regions 5,6, and 7; Environmental Benefit Permit Strategy (EBPS).

Bureau of Water Compliance

  • State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Compliance Information Section - Covers SPDES and facility information; Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs); MS4 General Permit compliance; Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) compliance; wastewater treatment plant operator certification.
  • Upstate Compliance Assurance Section - Covers DEC Regions 4 - 9; SPDES/Water Integrated Compliance Strategy System (WICSS) compliance; enforcement coordination; compliance liaison with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Metropolitan Compliance Assurance Section - Covers DEC Regions 1 - 3; New York City wastewater treatment facility compliance and enforcement; compliance liaison with EPA
  • Fiscal Planning and Management Section - Covers EPA Core Grants (PPG, 604b); EPA Watershed Grants (Chesapeake Bay, Lake Champlain, Great Lakes, Long Island Sound); FEMA Grants; USGS Contracts; State Assistance and Service Contracts, MOU's, Cooperative Agreements; Attachment As; Budget & Spending Plan Management; Purchasing/Procurement Equipment - Contractual Services

Bureau of Water Resource Management

The Bureau of Water Resource Management works to protect, manage, and conserve New York State's groundwater and surface water supply sources, develop management strategies to enhance and protect these waters, and protect both the groundwater and surface water quality in the New York City Watershed and other major watersheds. The Bureau's work includes programs for water withdrawal permitting, which includes analysis and approval of aquifer (pumping) tests and reservoir capacity; drought management; Great Lakes water withdrawal registration; statewide annual water withdrawal reporting; groundwater; interstate water supply partnerships; reservoir releases; water conservation; and water well drillers registration. The Bureau provides geotechnical assistance to local, state, federal, and industrial/commercial entities, and has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for over 35 years to conduct a cooperative statewide aquifer mapping program. The Bureau also manages DEC's water quality and watershed protection programs for the New York City water supply system, including Federal Safe Drinking Water Act grants, compliance for SPDES permits within the watershed, and technical assistance and training for wastewater treatment facility operators within the watershed. The Bureau works with stakeholders and partners to improve water quality, provides funding for Water Quality Improvement Projects, and conducts outreach and communication activities. The Bureau's responsibilities also include developing and managing a geographic information system (GIS) that provides information and data about New York State's waters.

  • Water Quantity Management Section
  • Watershed Section A
  • Watershed Section B
  • Watershed Section C

More about Water:

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  • Division of Water
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3500
    518-402-8233
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