New York City’s water crisis has sparked a ‘water war’
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s water department announced Thursday that water supply will be cut off to residents for at least two weeks in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The move comes as New Yorkers scramble to recover from the storm, which has killed more than 8,000 people and displaced more than 13 million, and which caused $15 billion in damages.
De Blasio is asking the governor to declare a state of emergency to provide more resources to deal with the crisis.
“The Governor has authorized a state emergency and declared a state crisis,” said a statement released by the mayor.
De Blasio and state officials are hoping the state can provide enough resources to help New Yorkers recover, including emergency medical services, food assistance and other resources, the statement said.
The city’s emergency declaration is the first in New York’s history, but it was announced after the governor, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the New York Police Department declared a statewide state of disaster.
New Yorkers are allowed to conserve water in their homes and in their cars, and they can bring in water from public taps.
But the city is not allowed to turn off its water service or turn off residents from tap water.
The water crisis is one of the worst ever seen in the United States.
New York state lost nearly 3,000 homes and businesses during the storm and is still recovering from its massive losses, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that $1.4 billion was lost to flood damage and another $1 billion was displaced in New Jersey.
The mayor and officials announced Thursday a $25 million fund to help displaced residents.
De Blasio is proposing $6 billion for housing assistance and $4 billion for storm recovery.
Delegate Brian P. Gage said he expects New Yorkers to be forced to return to the taps in the coming days and weeks.
Gage said New Yorkers need to start rethinking their drinking water supply and that the city needs to provide an emergency response to the storm.
“This is a water war,” he said.
“It is not a normal situation.”
In response to concerns about the city drinking water, the city will allow residents to bring in up to one gallon of water a day.
Delegates also passed a resolution Thursday calling for the removal of the citywide ban on plastic bags and other items that people are permitted to bring into the city.
Delegates also approved a $15 million water bill that is intended to address the water crisis.
The bill will provide $6 million for emergency relief, including flood relief, as well as $1 million for community water supplies.
The bill also would fund a program to provide bottled water to homeless New Yorkers who need it.