Long Island (NY) officials say the rapid use and pollution of Long Island's water supply may cause
widespread water shortages in 10 to 15 years. Three vast, layered aquifers, believed to contain about 60
trillion gallons, supply the Island's water. The top layer contains the Glacial Aquifer, undrinkable because it
is so contaminated. The Magothy Aquifer, the middle layer, is the widest and largest source of water. The
deepest layer, the Lloyd, is a protected area, reserved only for emergencies. In Sept. 1986, the State
Department of Environmental Conservation announced a series of limits, effective Jan. 1987, on the amount
of water that Nassau County suppliers can pump from the aquifers. Builders and water suppliers say the
state-imposed limits are forcing water suppliers to limit development by determining which proposed
projects they could supply with water and will severely hurt Long Island's economy and result in layoffs of
thousands of construction workers.
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
Descriptor terms: water pollution; drinking water; long island; ny; suffolk county; nassau county; studies; oyster bay; aquifers; water supply; water shortages; development;