Making sure the Delaware River’s water gets distributed among the 15 million people who depend on it requires cooperation among four states. Today, Pennsylvania DEP, along with New York, New Jersey, Delaware and New York City, announced the renewal of their commitment to a compact established by a U.S. Supreme Court decree back in 1954.
“This agreement will ensure that the continual and steady flow of water in the Delaware River protects Philadelphia’s water supply from salt water, which can flow in from the Atlantic Ocean,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said in a release. “This extension will allow all of the partners to work together this year to find longer-term solutions to the flow issues on the Delaware River.”
In the early part of the 20th century, water wars developed between New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The issue twisted its way through the courts and in 1931, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decree governing water withdrawals. In 1954, the court weighed in on a new chapter of the conflict. It set up the post of River Master to oversee water flow, and make sure New York didn’t hoard all the good water.
To learn more about the role of the Delaware River Master, and how the river’s water is distributed among the residents of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, read our post the history of the water disputes that led to the original court order.