That dam, holding 18 billion gallons of water, is part of New York City’s water system.
“We’re getting prepared in case we get flooding here,” Vroman. “The release of the water today will alleviate some of the problem, because the GIlboa Dam is filled right now. It’s actually spilling over at the one notch a little bit. They’re not gong to be able to get it down much because, with the rain we have had the last couple of weeks, there is a lot of water coming in.”
The Shandaken Reservoir, Vroman noted, was at 78 percent capacity when the water releases began.
“They have room there,” he said of the Shandaken. “And we’re hoping this helps a little bit. But as you know as well as I do that if you get a lot of rain you are still going to get flooding.”
The possibility of flooding was also a top concern for Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District manager Scott Fickbohm.
Given the pounding local streams took from storms in 2006 and again last year, he said, “The streams are basically unstable.”
“They can’t handle this amount of water in this short period of time,” Fickbohm said. “The only thing for them to do is move — migrate. You end up having culverts getting blocked up and houses imperiled. The streams evolve over time. Their shape reflects the amount of rain they have been receiving from these frequent and intense storms. It’s almost like a changing landscape.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Friday for all of New York’s counties and mobilized the state’s emergency preparedness centers. Meanwhile, state officials canceled plans for a conference on emergency preparedness in Albany next week.
State officials also said the water level at the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project’s lower reservoir on the Schoharie Creek has been reduced to the minimum depth as a precaution against flooding. The New York Power Authority also has lowered the level of the Hinckley Reservoir, where the agency operates a small hydroelectric facility, to create additional storage capacity.