Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Report of the River Master of the Delaware River for the period December 1, 2010–November 30, 2011

April 27, 2020

A Decree of the Supreme Court of the United States, entered June 7, 1954, established the position of Delaware River Master within the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition, the Decree authorizes diversion of water from the Delaware River Basin and requires compensating releases from certain reservoirs, owned by New York City, to be made under the supervision and direction of the River Master. The Decree stipulates that the River Master will furnish reports to the Court, not less frequently than annually. This report is the 58th Annual Report of the River Master of the Delaware River. It covers the 2011 River Master report year, the period from December 1, 2010, to November 30, 2011.

During the report year, precipitation in the upper Delaware River Basin was 71.43 inches or 162 percent of the long-term average. On December 1, 2010, combined usable storage in the New York City reservoirs in the upper Delaware River Basin was 230.430 billion gallons or 85.1 percent of combined storage capacity. The reservoirs were at about 100 percent of usable capacity on May 31, 2011. Combined storage remained high (above 80 percent combined capacity) through November 2011. 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 were in full compliance with the Decree. 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 5 days during the report year (July 24–28, 2011). 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.

The quality of water in the Delaware Estuary between Trenton, New Jersey, and Reedy Island Jetty, Delaware, was monitored at various locations. Data on water temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and pH were collected continuously by electronic instruments at four sites.

Related Content