The New York City Watershed is one of the largest unfiltered surface water collection and distribution systems in the world. The watershed covers almost 2,000 square miles. Ninety percent of New York City’s water comes from reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains; the remaining ten percent comes from reservoirs east of the Hudson River in Dutchess and Orange Counties.
As part of New York City’s comprehensive watershed protection plan, watershed farmers agree to work with the Watershed Agricultural Program to develop and implement whole farm environmental plans. New York City funds the whole farm planning effort under contract with the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC). The WAC contracts with agencies to provide the technical expertise needed to develop and implement the plans. Partnering agencies include Cornell Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and USDA Farm Service Agency.