For the Want of Water: Safely Slaking New York City's Twentieth Century Thirst
by David W. Boles
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38 Unique References
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When I first moved to New York City to attend Columbia University for graduate school a 36-inch water main broke at the corner of 114 th Street and Broadway. The entire Columbia neighborhood was without fresh water for over five days. It was during that awful heat wave summer of 1988 that I began to realize how important fresh running water was to a city. I was born and raised in Nebraska were water was a precious commodity and it had to be pumped in from the Missouri River and Colorado since Nebraska is a state that has no reliable, self-sustaining, native freshwater supply.
This research question this paper will examine is how the New York City water system was planned and built and made safely potable in the period from 1900 to 1980. For clarification purposes there are mentions of incidents and strategies in the long history of the New York City Water System occurring before 1900 and after 1980. Those events require mention on a scholarly level in order to properly frame the context of what happened during that required 80 year stretch of history in New York City as determined by the paper assignment. The kind of urban planning needed to create successful water systems can takes years and decades and in the case of New York City’s Water Tunnel #3 the construction will take place during four stages over 50 years spanning the time period from 1970 to 2020....