Law School Case Brief
New Jersey v. New York - 347 U.S. 995, 74 S. Ct. 842 (1954)
The State of New Jersey may divert outside the Delaware River watershed, from the Delaware River or its tributaries in New Jersey, without compensating releases, the equivalent of 100 m.g.d., if the State shall not, prior to July 1, 1955, repeal Chapter 443 of the New Jersey Laws of 1953, and if, when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania accepts the conditions as specified in Section 19 of that Chapter, the State of New Jersey shall join with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in requesting the consent of Congress to the agreement embodied in Chapter 443 of the New Jersey Laws of 1953 and an Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania accepting the conditions of such New Jersey Act.
Complainant State of New Jersey filed a complaint against defendants, the State of New York and the City of New York. In May 1954, a special master issued a report recommending an amended decree. The report enjoined defendants from diverting water from the Delaware River or its tributaries except to the extent of specified conditions. The State of Pennsylvania and the State of Delaware intervened. Defendants filed an amended petition in the Supreme Court of the United States. New Jersey filed an answer seeking affirmative relief.
Should water diversions from the Delaware River or its tributaries by New York City be enjoined?
The Supreme Court of the United States entered an order approving the special master's report in all respects, thus superseding the Court's 1931 decree, and enjoining certain water diversions from the Delaware River or its tributaries by New York City. Authorized diversions included 440 million gallons daily (m.g.d.) until the City completed and placed in operation its reservoir presently under construction on the East Branch of the Delaware River. After completion of the reservoir, the City basically was entitled to divert the equivalent of 490 m.g.d. until the completion of its proposed dam and reservoir at Cannonsville on the West Branch of the Delaware River. After the completion of the Cannonsville reservoir, the City had the right to divert the equivalent of 800 m.g.d. The Court further devised a formula to compute the diversions. The Court also imposed certain conditions and obligations on the City, such as a requirement for certain compensating releases of water from its reservoirs. Diversions by New Jersey were authorized under specified conditions.
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