Ashokan Reservoir

Ashokan Reservoir

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Ashokan Reservoir

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The Ashokan Reservoir is a reservoir in Ulster County, New York, USA. The reservoir is in the eastern end of the Catskill Park, and is one of several reservoirs created to provide the City of New York with water. However, it is one of only two reservoirs in the Catskill Watershed. It is also New York City's deepest reservoir, being over 190 feet (58.5 m) deep at its deepest point. This site is near the dam at the former site of Bishop Falls.


New York City turned to the Catskills for water in the early 20th century after discovering a group of speculators calling itself the Ramapo Water Company had bought up riparian right to many water sources further south in Rockland, Orange and Ulster counties. The Catskills were more desirable as state-owned Forest Preserve land in the region could not, under the state constitution, be sold to any other party. A recent amendment to that section of the state constitution also allowed up to 3% of the total Forest Preserve land to be flooded for reservoirs.

Residents of the area to be flooded did not take kindly to the idea, and fought eminent domain proceedings bitterly. They were aided by local lawyers familiar with the checkered history of Catskill land claims. It would be 1940 until the last were settled.

Local opponents of the reservoir also cast doubt on its soundness, saying it could never hold enough water (it would be the largest reservoir in the world at the time), but when it was filled from 1912 to 1914, they were...
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