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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 web pages 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.

Governor Cuomo Announces Launch of Innovative Pilot Project to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the launch of an innovative new pilot project to combat harmful algal blooms (HABs) and return clean water to the Village of Southampton's Agawam Lake. The pilot is directed by DEC and the Office of General Services, in partnership with the Village of Southampton. The pilot project is part of the State's $82 million initiative to study, respond to and prevent HABs in New York waterbodies. If the pilot in Agawam Lake proves successful, it will be applied statewide.

View Governor Cuomo's October 3 press release (leaves DEC website) for more information.

Public Comment Period for the Draft SPDES Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity

DEC has issued a draft permit for modifications to the SPDES Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity (GP-0-17-004).

Copies of the draft permit and draft fact sheet describing the draft changes are available on DEC's MSGP web page.

For more information, including how to comment, view the September 25 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

NOAA Marine Debris Grant Program

Funding is available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) Marine Debris Program to prevent the introduction of marine debris into the marine and coastal environment (including the Great Lakes). Letters of intent are requested by November 5, 2019 and competitive applications will be asked to submit a full proposal. For more information, visit NOAA's Marine Debris Program web page (leaves DEC website).

New Well Drilled as Part of Strategic Monitoring of Long Island Groundwater

At a regional Water Quality Summit hosted by Suffolk County on September 17, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the drilling of a new monitoring well in Freeport, Nassau County. The monitoring well is the first of 25 being drilled throughout the region to support the comprehensive groundwater study along Long Island's sole source aquifer. DEC was directed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to install the network of wells and is working in partnership with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to develop a groundwater model that will help Long Island government officials and water district personnel to make crucial, long-term decisions relating to the preservation of Long Island's sole source aquifer.

This study aligns with the goals of the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan, which is a multiyear initiative to reduce nitrogen in Long Island's surface and ground waters by DEC, the Long Island Commission on Aquifer Protection, Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan, and other partners.

Harmful Algal Bloom Notifications

Visit NYHABS, DEC's HABs notification map, to view locations of current freshwater HABs in New York State. Each yellow dot on the map represents a HAB reported in the past two weeks. Click on a dot for more information, including the date it was reported, the waterbody name, and pictures. Click on the arrow at the bottom of the screen to view a list of reported HABs.

Know it. Avoid it. Report it.

If you see a HAB, please use the new reporting form to submit a report to NYHABS.

Because waterbodies may have HABs that have not been reported to DEC, we recommend avoiding contact with floating mats, scums and discolored water.

If you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a HAB, please rinse with clean water and report any symptoms to your local health department.

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 Wastershed 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:

  • Contact for this Page
  • Division of Water
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3500
    518-402-8233
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  • Page applies to all NYS regions