Bordered by the Hudson River to the west and the Long Island Sound to the east and filled with many rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs, Westchester County is blessed with an abundance of water. In fact, over 25% of Westchester is a lake, pond, river or stream. Water is an important resource, vital to our health and the health of the environment we live in. We drink it, clean with it, swim, boat, and fish in it. We use it to water our lawns and gardens. Water is also an essential resource to support the natural environment that we enjoy every day – our parks, the trees that provide shade and clean air, and the wildlife that all contribute to a quality of life that make Westchester one of the most desirable places to live.
However, our daily activities also threaten this valuable resource. The cars that we drive, the products that we use and the way that we develop land all impact the natural hydrologic cycle and natural processes that help to filter the water and ensure a consistent supply.
Learn what the County Department of Planning is doing to help inform residents, municipal officials, business owners and land developers about the ways each of us can help protect water quality and improve our environment.
- The County has facilitated the development of a number of watershed plans—plans based on a watershed scale that study the land and water resources, evaluate threats to water quality and propose practical solutions to address those problems. The Croton Plan focuses on ways to protect the East of Hudson Watershed, a component of the New York City drinking water supply system. The Bronx River Plan focuses on improving stormwater runoff.
- Working with the County Soil and Water Conservation District, the County has restored dozens of degraded streams, ponds and wetlands to protect water quality and improve aquatic habitat. These projects also include stormwater best management practices (BMPs) to remove pollutants from stormwater runoff generated from County properties.
- Working with local municipalities the County developed an education and outreach program targeted at residents and property owners on how to reduce stormwater pollution. The program includes a wide variety of educational items and messages, including tips on better lawn care, pet waste management, car maintenance and septic systems.
The County Department of Environmental Facilities has educational programs on our drinking water supply, waste management and recycling programs as well as our systems to collect and treat wastewater. They sponsor the County Earth Day celebration, at which residents can obtain rain barrels and compost bins.
The County Department of Health also has programs and information on protecting water quality, including protecting our drinking water quality from pesticides and other household chemicals and fertilizers and how to maintain septic systems.
The County Water Agency, consisting of the departments of Planning, Health and Environmental Facilities, has information on water conservation and drought.