Our Challenge to You
Today New York City delivers about 1.5 billion gallons of safe drinking water to over 8 million city residents and another 1 million consumers north of the city. The source of New York City’s drinking water is a network of 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes in a 1,972-square-mile watershed, and a remarkable 6,000-mile network of pipes, shafts and subterranean aqueducts.
Built four decades ago, the city’s water system was regarded as some of America’s proudest engineering accomplishments. Today, this water infrastructure is in a state of disrepair that threatens its ability to continue to supply the city with safe and clean water. Furthermore, much of the existing wastewater infrastructure has deteriorated and is in need of repair or replacement.
Between the water supply and wastewater treatment systems are millions of New Yorkers and visitors to the city and an elaborate and hidden network of sewers and water mains. If we all had a real look at where our water comes from, how it's consumed and where it goes, we could motivate stakeholders to ﬁnd solutions to these problems. Everybody can help these systems run better by conserving water, disposing of garbage and household chemicals properly, and being concerned about water quantity and quality in the city’s surrounding waters.
Today the tools and resources exist to make this invisible process visible and achieve a high level of water transparency. Especially in New York City, where a new breed of entrepreneurs now has access to advancements in "data generation”, “genetic” sciences, cloud computing, “big data” mathematics, and visualization technologies that allow us to visualize, measure, model and manage the complex system that is water, ultimately ensuring the efﬁcient availability of fresh clean water for decades to come.