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Office of the Delaware River Master (ODRM)

Moving Towards a Long-Term Flexible Program for Managing the New York City Delaware Basin Reservoir Releases

Goals, Objectives and Constraints

Paper available in PDF.


The New York City Delaware Basin reservoirs are operated in accordance with the 1954 Supreme Court Decree and Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Docket No. D77-20 and its subsequent revisions. Elements of the current water management rules have evolved over more than 70 years, and the system has grown increasingly complex as it has been changed over time to better address human and ecological needs. The Decree Parties (New York City, New York State, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania) believe that a "long-term flexible program" that secures the benefits of flexibility and simplifies the current system while providing improved performance is highly desirable. In approving Docket D77-20 (Revision 7) the Decree Parties committed to engage in discussions, in cooperation with the Delaware River Master and DRBC, to develop such a long-term flexible program to manage releases from the New York City Delaware Basin reservoirs. This commitment arises from a desire to address several issues that have been identified in the past two decades. Among these are:

Goal and Objectives

The goal of the program is to secure the benefits of increased flexibility, improve performance, and simplify programs for managing reservoir releases. In achieving this goal, the Decree Parties will pursue the following objectives:


The Decree Parties have defined and agreed to the following set of basic management constraints that can be supported by demonstrable human or ecological needs:

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