Report of the River Master of the Delaware River for the Period December 1, 2014–November 30, 2015

Open-File Report 2024-1010
By: , and 


Executive Summary

A Decree of the Supreme Court of the United States, entered June 7, 1954 (New Jersey v. New York, 347 U.S. 995), established the position of Delaware River Master within the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition, the Decree authorizes the diversion of water from the Delaware River Basin and requires compensating releases from specific reservoirs owned by New York City be made under the supervision and direction of the River Master. The Decree stipulates that the River Master provide reports to the Court, not less frequently than annually. This report is the 62nd annual report of the River Master of the Delaware River. This report covers the 2015 River Master report year, which is the period from December 1, 2014, to November 30, 2015.

During the report year, precipitation in the upper Delaware River Basin was 42.22 inches or 95 percent of the long-term average. The combined storage remained above 80 percent of the combined capacity until August 2015. The lowest combined storage of the report year was 57 percent of the total combined capacity on December 1, 2014. Delaware River Master operations during the year were conducted as stipulated by the Decree and the Flexible Flow Management Program.

Diversions from the Delaware River Basin by New York City and New Jersey fully complied with the Decree. The reservoir releases were made as directed by the River Master at rates designed to meet the flow objective for the Delaware River at Montague, New Jersey, on 72 days during the report year. Interim Excess Release Quantity and conservation releases, designed to relieve thermal stress and protect the fishery and aquatic habitat in the tailwaters of the reservoirs, were also made during the report year.

Water quality in the Delaware River estuary between the streamgages at Trenton, New Jersey, and Reedy Island Jetty, Delaware, was monitored at several locations. Data on water temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and pH were collected continuously by electronic instruments at four sites.

Suggested Citation

Russell, K.L., Andrews, W.J., DiFrenna, V.J., Norris, J.M., and Mason, R.R., Jr., 2024, Report of the River Master of the Delaware River for the period December 1, 2014–November 30, 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2024–1010, 96 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

ISSN: 0196-1497 (print)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Executive Summary
  • Method to Determine Directed Releases From New York City Reservoirs
  • Hydrologic Conditions
  • Operations
  • Conformance of Operations Under the Amended Decree of the Supreme Court of the United States Entered June 7, 1954
  • Quality of Water in the Delaware River Estuary
  • Tables 1, 3–11, and 13–20
  • References Cited
  • Glossary
  • Appendix 1. Agreement of the Parties to the 1954 Decree of the Supreme Court of the United States, Effective June 1, 2015
  • Appendix 2. Temporary Modification to the Drought Entry Criteria Under the Flexible Flow Management Program
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Report of the River Master of the Delaware River for the period December 1, 2014–November 30, 2015
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2024-1010
ISBN 978-1-4113-4550-8
DOI 10.3133/ofr20241010
Year Published 2024
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Office of the Associate Director for Water
Description xi, 96 p.
Country United States
State Delaware, New Jersey New York, Pennsylvania
Other Geospatial Delaware River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details