What We Do
Water for Long Island was formed in 2004 to establish an expanding network of informed and active groups and individuals who will speak up, advocate for, and defend the aquifers and the groundwater resources of Long Island. Since its founding Water for Long Island has been engaged in a number of activities and programs to create a better understanding of the Long Island aquifer system, the groundwater it provides to Long Islanders and its vulnerability to pollution and over-pumping. Some of the activities Water for Long Island has been engaged in include the following:
- Presented numerous educational programs across Long Island to diverse audiences in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
- Participated as Petitioners against the Suffolk County Water Authority application to drill a well into the Lloyd Aquifer in Northport (Town of Huntington). The Adjudicatory Hearing continued from 2005 to 2007. Water for Long Island successfully defended the Lloyd Moratorium which prohibited the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation from granting Lloyd Aquifer well permits to water utilities and others unless they met the extreme hardship criteria specified in the 1987 law.
- Hosted four major Water Conferences (2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017) that discussed ways to improve water management on Long Island. In 2017 we began the program series, Protect Our Aquifer Day. Our second Protect Our Aquifer Day was held in 2018.
- Developed educational materials to explain how a Long Island Aquifer Management Compact would give Long Island the tools and regulatory oversight needed for successful, long-term management of Long Island's groundwater and surface water resources.
- Held a series of briefings for other organizations regarding the Long Island Aquifer Management Compact proposal developed by Water for Long Island.
- Promoted the resumption of funding in Nassau County for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) water monitoring program (2014) for groundwater and surface water systems. Nassau County terminated annual funding for the USGS twice since 2000, creating a void in the annual water data collected and administered by the USGS Long Island office. This information is essential for the long-term understanding of groundwater and surface water conditions and responses to human impacts on the resources as well as extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy.
- Collaborated with Nassau and Suffolk County legislators to hold a series of three hearings (2012) on groundwater and water resource conditions in both counties that required urgent attention. A set of hearing summaries was developed by Water for Long Island and the legislative sponsors.
- Testified at legislative hearings and forums.
- Successfully advocated for a rigorous review of the proposal by New York City to open the wells at the former Jamaica Water Supply system in Queens, New York. The City announced in May 2015, it would abandon this plan, however, it would still pursue the renewal of well permits that expire in December 2017.
- Regularly meet to discuss issues of importance for protecting and managing the essential water resources of Long Island.
- Successfully advocated in 2016 for a major new Long Island Groundwater Sustainability Study by the USGS. The program will be funded for approximately $6.5 million and take over 5 years to complete. A major component of the study will look at the sustainability of water use in western Long Island and saltwater intrusion into the Lloyd and Magothy aquifers.
- Developed a new document (2017) in response to the LICAP report, that outlines what a Groundwater Management Strategy should include. This report is posted in the Documents & Publications section of this website.
- Successfully advocated for the reinstatement of the one-of-a-kind publication by the Nassau County Department of Health known as Groundwater and Public Water Supply Facts. It was last published in 1999. The local law reinstating the annual report was passed unanimously by the Nassau Legislature in December and signed by County Executive Laura Curran in December 2019. The lead sponsor for the law was Siela Bynoe (D), representing the Legislative District 2.
- Published a detailed report (2019) on the actions so far by Long Island water suppliers to meet the 15% water use reduction goal set by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. This report is posted in Documents and Publications of this website.
- Supported efforts to initiate a Nassau County comprehensive groundwater conservation program. The program will be county-wide and will use a variety of strategies to work with local water suppliers, NGOs, local government, the NYS-DEC and residents to promote new approaches to lawn care, irrigation, water awareness, and create a groundwater conservation culture. Funds from the American Rescue Plan to implement "transformational projects" will be used for this new and truly transformational program. The new program was announced by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran in June 2021.
- Comments submitted on the NYS DEC Sand Mining Groundwater Quality Study held July 6, 2021. The DEC has refused to sample the lakes created at 7 sites where the aquifers have been sand mined to up to 100 feet or more below the water table.
- Submitted comments to the DEC in September 2023 on ideas for the use of Environmental Bond Act funds. Projects included: clean up recharge basins, make the sustainability computer model available to water suppliers, mandate smart irrigation controllers, upgrade water infrastructure to track water use in read time, and enforce the 15% water pumpage reduction goal. Also recommended was a water conservation program for Nassau County - the WaterVision project.