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New York City enjoys fresh water thanks to a complex supply and delivery system; one that has been evolving since 1842 when the first aqueduct brought clean water from Westchester County into the city.

Expansions, improvements, and adjustments are continuously being made. The system’s continued success depends upon technical innovation, ecological resource management, and smooth political interaction. The latter involves not just the governments of New York City and New York State, but also Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the United States of America.

The fire hydrant, an often overlooked sidewalk fixture, is a visible point of connection into an ecosystem encompassing thousands of square miles, multiple layers of government, city service bureaucracies, thousands of municipal employees, and a web of urban neighborhoods.

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