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Open File Report

Report of the River Master of the Delaware River

For the Period December 1, 2000-November 30, 2001

by Bruce E. Krejmas, Gary N. Paulachok, and William J. Carswell, Jr.

U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2005-1204

The full report is available as a pdf.
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Abstract

A Decree of the United States Supreme Court in 1954 established the position of Delaware River Master. In addition, the Decree authorizes diversions of water from the Delaware River Basin and requires compensating releases from certain reservoirs, owned by New York City, to be made under the supervision and direction of the River Master. The Decree stipulates that the River Master will furnish reports to the Court, not less frequently than annually. This report is the 48th Annual Report of the River Master of the Delaware River. It covers the 2001 River Master report year, that is, the period from December 1, 2000, to November 30, 2001.

During the report year, precipitation in the upper Delaware River Basin was 8.33 inches less than the long-term average. Combined storage in Pepacton, Cannonsville, and Neversink Reservoirs was above the long-term median on December 1, 2000. Reservoir storage increased rapidly in early April 2001 and all the reservoirs filled and spilled. Storage declined steadily from early July to November. Delaware River operations were conducted as prescribed by the Decree from December 1, 2000, to October 28, 2001, and at reduced levels from October 29, 2001, to November 30, 2001, when drought watch and warning conditions prevailed.

Diversions from the Delaware River Basin by New York City and New Jersey were in compliance with the terms of the Decree or with the reduced limits in effect during drought watch and warning conditions. Reservoir releases were made as directed by the River Master at rates designed to meet the flow objective for the Delaware River at Montague, N.J., on 155 days during the report year. Releases were made at experimental conservation rates—or rates designed to relieve thermal stress and protect the fishery in the tailwaters of the reservoirs—on all other days.

During the report year, New York City and New Jersey complied fully with the terms of the Decree, and during drought watch and warning conditions, complied fully with the terms of the “Interstate Water Management Recommendations of the Parties to the Decree” (DRBC Resolution 83-13), and directives and requests of the River Master.

As part of a long-term program, the quality of water in the Delaware Estuary between Trenton, N.J., and Reedy Island Jetty, Del., was monitored at various locations. Data on water temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and pH were collected by electronic instruments at four sites. In addition, discrete water-quality data were collected at 3 sites on a monthly basis and at 19 sites on a semimonthly basis.


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