Kingston’s Cooper Lake “Safe Yield”. How’d They Come Up With That?


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By Rebecca Martin

According to this “Report on the Impact of the Proposed Hudson River Landing Development on Kingston Water Department” created in 2007, it says that “the COK had a daily water usage of 3.28 million GPD (today, it is at 3.5 million GPD) and that at that time our ‘safe or dependable yield’ was 6.1 million GPD.

“By definition, the safe yield of any water supply is the maximum dependable water supply that can be withdrawn continuously from a supply during a period of YEARS (how many?)  in which the driest period or period of greatest deficiency in water supply is likely to occur.

For Kingston Water Supply that period CONTINUES TO BE THE DROUGHT OF 1957

If we are reading this correctly, of note:

1. In 2007, the COK provided 3.28 million GPD on average. Today, that number is at 3.5 million GPD. No matter the size of the increase, it illustrates that our community will grow, as will our needs.

2. The 6.1 million GPD “safe or dependable” yield can be “used for a period of ‘years'”. Though not recommended in this document, if it were ever maxed – for how many years could Cooper Lake sustain? We are hearing that same number today in discussions regarding the Niagara Bottling Co proposal. 6.1 million GPD. Has it not changed in 7 years based on, say – climate change?  (the report was written in 2007).

3. The COK Water Department is basing the 6.1 million GPD safe yield number on the drought of 1957. That’s over 50 YEAR AGO.

Based on just a little general research – and it all needs to be clarified – the drought of 1957 lasted 3 months. But in 1964 – 1966, a drought in the valley lasted 27 months? What about the 2012 drought? What were rainfall averages in the are from 1950 to today?  I’m guessing there is enough data out there for a more current number – and I’d say that it appears that hasn’t been done, and it sure should have been prior to the Kingston Water Department issuing a “Will Share” to the proposed Niagara Project.

Due diligence COK officials.