The New York City Watershed Agreement is a commitment of historic proportions. New York City's financial commitments to land acquisition, Partnership Programs, and infrastructure and water quality improvements totals over $1.2 billion. New York State commitments to land acquisition and partnership programs amount to more than $53 million and federal commitments under the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments total $105 million. This level of financial commitment represents New York City's understanding that the financial burden of clean drinking water should be borne primarily by those who enjoy it. The financial package mandated by the Watershed Agreement constitutes a needed injection of market forces in the distribution of water. Water waste has been a significant problem since the days of the first Croton Dam. It is hoped that having New York City actually bear the cost of its water will induce a more responsible use of resources within the Watershed. Even with the substantial financial assistance extended by the City, the Watershed Communities bear the cost of foregone development in economically advantageous but environmentally sensitive land. Those communities have survived under the sometimes onerous burden of New York City's need for clean water and should be commended for their perseverance.
Recommended CitationMichael C. Finnegan, New York City's Watershed Agreement: A Lesson in Sharing Responsibility, 14 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 577 (1997)
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