The necessity for water conservation goes beyond the simple balance of supply versus demand. Water must be used wisely regardless of the abundance of a water supply. This applies to both private wells and public supply. Orange County has demonstrated, and will continue to demonstrate that conservation consciousness is essential for ensuring resources will continue to be available to growing communities. There are many ways to become a water-wise consumer. The first step is to be informed, then you can begin to implement simple small changes around your home or business to save water and money, and feel good knowing you are making a difference. The following documents can assist you in your mission to be a water-wise consumer.

Water Convervation Education

Since its inception in 1994, OCWA Educators have brought the Water Conservation Education Program to approximatley 120,000 elementary students. In 2015, our educators taught over 9000 students! With concerns for our future, conservation education has played a major role in the education of our children and their families at home. The purpose of this program is to educate children about the growing local and global concerns for water conservation and protection; hands on fun and challenging activities help to convey this important message. The Program and activities are designed to enrich and complement many components of the school curriculum. Throughout the program, both staff and students are amazed and even shocked when they learn how much water is wasted on a daily basis in their homes. The program teaches ways to decrease water use without changing lifestyles drastically. The activities presented give students the opportunity to participate actively using group dynamics, information gathering skills, and problem solving techniques to understand their direct roles for water conservation and protection.

PleChildren around a box with water and soilase feel free to contact one of our Educators for more information or to schedule a visit to your school:

Email MaryLynne Malone, Senior Educator or call 845-351-2967

Email Sarah Archbald, Educator

For general information about this and other Education Programs email the main office or call 845-615-3868.

Before and after water conservstion child's drawingGlass of water child's drawing

Leak Detection Program and Water Supply Studies

With support from the Orange County Legislature and County Executive, the Orange County Water Authority has once again allocated funding to conserve and protect municipal water supply systems and resources in Orange County, NY. They are as follows:

LEAK DETECTION SURVEY GRANT PROGRAM: Water system leak detection is the most cost effective water conservation technique. An undetected leak may waste millions of gallons of water before it is found and repaired. Since 2001 the OCWA Leak Detection Survey program has proven to provide great benefit to participating communities in the County. A contractor/company will be hired by the OCWA through a competitive process to perform these surveys at NO COST TO MUNICIPALITIES. The OCWA will also consider reimbursing municipalities for leak detection work if they wish to utilize their own vendor so long as reimbursement does not exceed the OCWA's contractor's set rate per mile (rate to be determined).

The period to apply for leak detection services has ended.

MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY STUDY GRANT PROGRAM: The OCWA has also allocated funds to assist municipalities who wish to perform studies of their water supply systems and resources to ensure safe and reliable drinking water. Such studies may include safe yield analysis, source water assessment, wellhead protection, water conservation and more. Capital improvement project requests will not be considered. If awarded, the OCWA will reimburse municipalities up to 50% of the cost of the study.

The period to apply for the Municipal Water Supply Study Grant Program has ended.

Please direct comments or questions to the office at 845-615-3868 or by email.


Funded in 2001, 2005, and again in 2010 the Leak Detection Program has helped conserve over 4,000,000 gallons of Orange County water PER DAY, yes - per day, and has already covered over 1500 miles of water mains, discovering hundreds of leaks. For more detail see the most recent report posted here.  2010-2011 Leak Detection Program Report (PDF)

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Tips, Testing and Information

Is Your Well Water Safe to Drink? The only way to tell if your drinking water is safe is by having it tested at a certified laboratory. Harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses are invisible to the naked eye, so water which looks and tastes good may not necessarily be safe to drink or water that appears questionable may indeed be absolutely safe to drink. Microbes can exist in surface and groundwater supplies, and can cause immediate sickness in humans if not properly treated. Certain chemical contaminants that are sometimes found in a water source can cause long term health problems that take years to develop. Regular water testing will identify unsafe water and ensure that the treatment system is treating the water to a satisfactory level.

What Tests Should I Have Done? Useful tests are available to help determine the health and safety of a water supply, and the performance of a water treatment system. The Orange County Dept of Environmental Health can assist in selecting tests important for assessing your drinking water.

To obtain a list of New York State approved labs in Orange County, NY contact the OC Dept of Health at 845-291-6664.

NYS recently announced a new FREE LEAD TESTING pilot program: Residents in NY State can have their water tested for lead for FREE while funding is available. Residents need to fill out a short form and email it to the Bureau of Water Supply Protection here:  Free Lead Testing Pilot Program. They will mail you a kit, instructions, and return postage to a particating lab.

Orange County Dept of Health, Environmental Division, when necessary, issues Boil Water Advisories for municipal and community water supplies. View which communities may have been issued boil water advisories. We also recommend visiting their website for other public health announcements and news. A new website offers information on local water quality: Members of the public looking to find out about their municipal and ground water quality have a new centralized resource to use. The New York Public Interest Research Group, is a non-partisan, nonprofit, research and public education organization, recently unveiled a new database that's available to the public. Use the What's In My Water? Weblink to be directed to the online database.

For additional information about drinking water and boiling water advisories, visit the New York State Health Department website.