As New Yorkers, we often take clean water for granted, but there’s a lot of money and effort being applied behind the scenes to make sure we have access to it. Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter H. Strickland, Jr. outlined the $20 billion dollars that the city has invested in its water system over the last decade, detailing upgrades to water mains and pipes, city dams, treatment plants, newly constructed sewer lines and other vital infrastructure projects. The officials also went over the work they are doing to ensure that the Gowanus Canal water quality upgrade project would also be completed by the end of the year, despite flooding and other damage from Hurricane Sandy.

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“New Yorkers consume more than one billion gallons of water each day, making it an essential part of our quality of life and economic growth,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The upgrades to the Gowanus Canal facility are among the unprecedented investments we’ve made to protect our world-renowned water quality. By committing more than $20 billion to safeguard New York’s drinking water and make our rivers and harbors cleaner, we’re ensuring that New Yorkers can continue to benefit from clean and reliable water.”

According to a city press release, NYC’s 14 wastewater treatment plants prevented billions of gallons of toxic wastewater from being discharged into rivers, harbors and bays in NYC before and after Hurricane Sandy. To be fair, we still need to raise our eyebrows about the report released by Climate Central showing that 11 billion gallons of sewage leaked into New York and New Jersey waterways nearly six months after the storm.

Alongside upgrades to infrastructure, the city launched the Green Infrastructure Plan to capture and retain storm-water runoff before it ever enters the sewer system. The $2.4 billion in public and private funding for green infrastructure installations aims to improve harbor water quality and lower costs for New Yorkers who pay for water.

Via NYC Gov