This week, May 2–8, OCWA–Central New York’s Water Authority–and other water professionals across North America are celebrating National Drinking Water Week.  The theme for this year’s event is “There When You Need It.”

To commemorate the week, OCWA will be highlighting three significant capital renewal projects that it is proactively undertaking to ensure its 500,000+ consumers continue to have access to safe, reliable water When They Need It.  We encourage consumers to learn more about the importance of water and water infrastructure by visiting the OCWA web site at

The first infrastructure renewal and investment project involves safety and efficiency improvements to our Otisco Lake intake and transmission main.  Otisco Lake provides roughly 50% of the supply to OCWA’s five-county regional water system.

The improvement project involves construction of a new, larger diameter (36″) section of buried intake piping and valves from the existing 36″ intake where it meets the Otisco Lake shoreline. 

The new piping and valves will not only be more efficient, but it will allow the Authority to bypass facilities which are cramped and difficult to access.

The end result will be improved gravity flow capacity of OCWA’s Otisco Lake source by over 1 million gallons per day.  This in turn will reduce the overall cost of production by avoiding having to make up this supply from the more energy intensive, all-pumped Lake Ontario source.

This project and resulting operational cost reduction supports OCWA’s continued reinvestment in its system and helps reduce the impact to customer water rates by offsetting some of the other system wide project costs. Maintaining economical water rates is a benefit to all customers throughout the service area, not just those customers who receive Otisco Lake water.

Later this week, we will highlight two additional proactive infrastructure renewal and investment projects currently being undertaken by the Authority: 1) complete refurbishment of the Lake Ontario Water Treatment Plant and 2) final completion of the water distribution loop around Oneida Lake.