A Decree of the United States Supreme Court in 1954 established the position of Delaware River Master within the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition, the Decree authorizes diversions 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 49th Annual Report of the River Master of the Delaware River. It covers the 2002 River Master report year, that is, the period from December 1, 2001, to November 30, 2002.
During the report year, precipitation in the upper Delaware River Basin was 2.73 in. greater than the long-term average. Combined storage in Pepacton, Cannonsville, and Neversink Reservoirs was at a record low level on December 1, 2001. Reservoir storage increased steadily from mid-winter until late June. Storage declined steadily from early July to mid-October then increased through the end of the year. Delaware River operations were conducted at reduced levels from December 1, 2001, to May 25, 2002, when drought emergency conditions prevailed, and as prescribed by the Decree from May 26, 2002, to November 30, 2002.
Diversions from the Delaware River Basin by New York City and New Jersey were in compliance with the terms of the Decree or with the reduced limits in effect during drought emergency conditions. 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 101 days during the report year. Releases were made at experimental conservation rates-or rates designed to relieve thermal stress and protect the fishery and aquatic habitat in the tailwaters of the reservoirs-on all other days.
During the report year, New York City and New Jersey complied fully with the terms of the Decree, and during drought emergency conditions, with the terms of the 'Interstate Water Management Recommendations of the Parties to the Decree' (DRBC Resolution 83-13), and directives and requests of the River Master.
As part of a long-term program, 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 by electronic instruments at four sites, and data on water temperature and specific conductance were collected at one site. In addition, selected water-quality data were collected at 3 sites on a monthly basis and at 19 sites on a semimonthly basis.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Report for the River Master of the Delaware River for the Period December 1, 2001-November 30, 2002