Pepacton Reservoir


Pepacton Reservoir at Shavertown Bridge

The Pepacton Reservoir, was formed by impounding over ¼ of the East Branch of the Delaware River to expand the New York City waters supply system. Four hamlets (Arena, Pepacton, Shavertown and Union Grove) were lost in the creation of this, the largest of NYC’s water supply reservoirs. The dam, located at Downsville, was finished in 1954.

The reservoir is a narrow reservoir that is 15 miles long and about 0.7 miles across at its widest point. The reservoir contains approximately 140.2 billion gallons of water at full capacity, and is over 160 feet deep at maximum. This makes it NYC’s biggest reservoir by volume, the nearby Ashokan Reservoir is the largest in terms of surface area.

The Pepacton Reservoir supplies New York City with nearly 25% of its drinking water. The water flows through the reservoir, and then empties into the 25.5-mile East Delaware Tunnel near the former site of Pepacton. The water travels through the aqueduct into the Rondout Reservoir, and empties into the 85-mile Delaware Aqueduct. The water then flows into the Kensico Reservoir just north of The Bronx. The water is unfiltered, and the NYC water supply system in the largest unfiltered water supply in the world.

Huntley Hollow Access

“Peapackton” is a Lenape Native American term meaning “marriage of the waters.”


Current access is limited to fishing from shore or by rowboat. We have identified numerous (11 on the north shore; 7 on the south) access points that may be suitable for launching canoes, kayaks, and small sailboats – similar to the pilot program instituted on the nearby Cannonsville Reservoir in 2009.

Starting Memorial Day weekend, use of these types of vessels on the Pepacton will be permitted. Read the press release here.

Click the map belwo for a larger version. The map indicates the 3 recreational boat launch sites. 

the rules and regulations that apply to the Pepacton (and the other three NYC water supply reservoirs) can be found on the NYCDEP webpage for Recreational Boating.

To protecft against un-wanted non-native and invasive species, all vessels must be steam-cleaned prior to accessing the Pepacton Reservoir. While this is a minor inconvenience for users, it is absolutely necessary to protect the integrity of the largest unfiltered drinking water supply in the world.


We will all benefit from your participation. For a list of steam-cleaning vendors throughout the NYC Watershed vicinity, visit the list on the Catskill Region Today website.

The Watershed Post posted an article on paddling the East Branch from the headwaters down to the reservoir. To read the article, click here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s