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United Water Lowering Woodcliff Lake Reservoir Before Storm

The National Weather Service warned of potential flooding in Bergen County Thursday through Saturday morning.

Updated at 8:07 a.m. Thursday.

United Water began releasing water from the Woodcliff Lake Reservoir Wednesday after the National Weather Service issued the third flood watch in a week for Bergen County and much of the tri-state area Wednesday, according to Westwood Mayor John Birkner.

The watch lasts from Thursday morning through Saturday morning. As of 7 a.m. Thursday, water in the reservoir was at elevation 94.05.

The drawdown came just one day after engineers who prepared a report about the upcoming dam project said that releasing the water will not necessarily mitigate flooding, but a tool to predict the best time to release water in order to reduce some flooding could likely be created by studying the reservoir and brook.

The NWS has predicted between 3.5 and 4.5 inches of rain will fall in the area, potentially causing flooding in small streams.

"I strongly advise all residents living in flood prone areas to take all necessary precautions to secure your property from the threats of high winds and flood waters," Birkner wrote in a message to residents.

Further downstream, the Oradell Reservoir was also less than 2 inches below its capacity level, Birkner wrote Wednesday night.

Last Friday night, rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea caused the Pascack Brook to flood. At least one resident reported getting water in his home as a result.

Members of the Hillsdale & Westwood Flood Solution Group protested United Water's dam operations during that storm, saying that a release of water from the reservoir prior to the storm could reduce or prevent some flooding.

The NWS issued another flood watch Monday lasting until Tuesday morning, through the brook apparently stayed within its banks during that storm.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

vish.all.well June 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM
The gage shows that the water level is not reached 94 yet... In common sense - if 1 inch of rain equates to 1 feet of gage level then this would not be enough to survive 4 inch of predicted rain fall - it would at least need to be taken down to 91 ft to manage 4 inch of rain effectively. This is my personal opinion.
K.Marin June 13, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Don't be fooled. This was just "press show off" time for both United Water and DEP. The amount released was so minimal and ridiculous! Just a couple of hours through one of the smaller valves. Do some math. 1/2 feet of leeway in the reservoirs does not mean we can sustain the same widespread amount of rain. Woodcliff lake receives water from upstream and some pumping. Look at the data from last week, a bit over 2.5 inches of rain in 12 hours, lead the reservoir to overflow, less than half way through the storm, and the brook at both Westwood and Hillsdale went over food stage almost immediately. To really do some flood control, they should have lowered the level in woodcliff lake at least 1.5-2 feet for a storm like the one coming. They will recapture that volume anyway. Now Mr Henning from united water will sing the usual song "we tried but proof it doesn't help". Let us show you what "trying means" , as it seems that nobody at DEP or unified water is capable of deriving a simple model and formula to know how much and when, in spite of all the available data. Really???
zella June 13, 2013 at 12:16 PM
DITTO... "This was just "press show off" time for both United Water and DEP."
zella June 13, 2013 at 12:18 PM
The release was scheduled for last night. The levels are nearly the same!
vish.all.well June 13, 2013 at 01:43 PM
The attempt to HELP the community is not sufficient by DEP and UW as I can see... If it rains 4 Inch today - the prediction is that it will FLOOD. This is a common man who can make this common sense/logical assumption based on the historical statistical recording... USGS 01377450 Woodcliff Lake at Hillsdale NJ Most recent instantaneous value: 94.02 06-13-2013 09:00 EDT Graph link: http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/nj/nwis/uv?cb_00065=on&format=gif_stats&period=&begin_date=2013-06-01&end_date=2013-06-14&site_no=01377450 And the flow is recorded by USGS 01377451 Pascack Bk at Woodcliff Lk outlet at Hillsdale NJ Most recent instantaneous value: 1.83 06-13-2013 09:15 EDT Graph: http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/nj/nwis/uv?cb_00065=on&format=gif_stats&period=&begin_date=2013-06-01&end_date=2013-06-14&site_no=01377451
Jane Bruns June 13, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Rode past the spillway half hour ago. There is less water going down it than yesterday at this time.
dave bager June 13, 2013 at 08:30 PM
why can't we pay a surcharge ... On our bills, so when they release water... And loose potential revenue... It'll save the towns, residents, FEMA MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. I'm sure no one would mind a small surcharge.
D Raymond June 14, 2013 at 12:19 AM
AND ....... All of you "know it alls" really predicted the incoming 4+ inch rain fall perfectly.......I'm sure you all will be the first to complain when/ if the weather gets warm and it stops raining and we become in a drought or water rationing situation and god forbid we get assessed for water during a shortage......get a grip you can't continue to carelessly dump our water especially heading into the summer months !
vish.all.well June 14, 2013 at 02:08 AM
I was led to believe that problem these towns are struggling for past few years is the FLOOD - so we need focused approach towards the resolution. Woodcliff lakes's 1% of the the total capacity among the UW reservoirs - but it has the potential to save few hundred families from FLOODING... so lets keep the topic about the flood and not the noise around it...
zella June 14, 2013 at 11:52 AM
"Carelessly dumping" and clueless comments go hand and hand.
dave bager June 14, 2013 at 07:05 PM
it's obvious who works for united water when you read some nonsense....
Pete June 16, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Here are the capacities of the United Water reservoirs (from the USGS): Oradell   3.5 billion gal. DeForest  5.7 billion gal. Woodcliff  .9 billion gal. Tappan  3.9 billion gal. Woodcliff Lake represents between 6 and 7 percent of the system. Regardless of whether that seems like a meaningful amount, it's 6 to 7 times the above-stated figure of 1%.
Pete June 16, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Source: http://pubs.usgs.gov/wdr/2005/wdr-nj-05-1/pdf/Hackensack05.pdf Figures rounded to nearest .1 billion.
vish.all.well June 17, 2013 at 12:14 AM
1% of the capacity is the amount that contributes to FLOOD in the areas - i.e water occupied between 89 ft to 95 ft. (6 ft of water) if UW let go that 1% and keep the water level to 89 ft - there will be no flooding... it can be operational management of water... Is the 1% of water worth causing such a havoc among the communities!!! That is the question these communities, people are asking... Can UW answer that question???

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