In the late 1800s, as the New York City population grew, safe drinking water became more scarce and worries increased about a long term water crisis. In response, officials decided to create reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains, where there was abundant clean water. Communities – filled with schools, churches, farms, even cemeteries- were dismantled and relocated to construct the reservoirs. More than 5,000 people were displaced from their homes. Look for signs on local roadways along the reservoirs commemorating these communities.
The Catskill and Delaware Systems now provide 90% of New York City’s water and is the largest unfiltered water supply in the U.S.