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December 06, 2016
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A new toy and flow frustrations

One who certainly is not perfect is Mr. Thomas Murphy of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Ha! That title is a monumental misnomer. He attended a meeting of the Upper Delaware Council unprepared to explain to the peasants why New York City is rejecting the flow proposals put forth by Professor Peter Kolesar, Jim Serio et al., when Anne Willard asked him if he had the data on the “amount of water available for downstream users,” he could only reply that “the City of New York has always believed that there is not enough water to thermally maintain the Main Stem of the Delaware.” He had no data to back up that assertion. When pressed, he lamely stated, that “the Rivermaster had the data.” Murphy claimed that in one year out of the last five, 2010, almost all of the water for thermal stress had been used. (Don’t believe a word of it.) In fact, even in that drought year, water that could have been available for thermal relief went unused.* [See editor’s note below.]

These days it seems as if there is a lawyer hiding behind every tree ready to sue on behalf of anyone offended by some innocuous remark. It is clear that New York City does not intend to deliver to the river its fair share of water as indicated by the original Supreme Court decree. We are left with only one choice: take the City of New York to court to force it to live up to the original decree.

[*EDITOR’S NOTE: The data show that in 2010, after accounting for the Flexible Flow Management Plan’s base table releases, around 30% of the Interim Excess Release Quantity—water available for a variety of “extraordinary needs,” including thermal stress—was unused.]