Session 8: NYC Water Tunnel No. 3 Update

Last Friday's conversation with Nausicaa Renner helped us formulate a list of actionable items for the upcoming weeks. We will continue to push the questions Why don't New Yorker's know about Water Tunnel No. 3? and Why should they care? by exploring the history of labor, the policy of today, and the future of our environment and urban water supply. This approach will allow us to weave together these three interconnected themes in a logical narrative. It also gives us a more specific scope within which to formulate questions and mine data.

So far we have interviewed:

  1. (labor) Richard Fitzsimmons, Local 147: Provided background on Sandhogs labor union and history of the Water Tunnel No. 3. Will reach out again to ask about accompanying them to a site.
  2. (policy) A leader from Community Board 6: gave us background information on the local politics.
  3. (environment) Jason Loiselle, Sherwood Design Engineers: spoke of the security threats of the project and the engineering feats.
  4. (environment/policy) Melissa Umberger, Office of Emergency Management: provided a useful overview of OEM and its engagement/outreach programs with various communities.
  5. (environment/policy) Brady Richards, Office of Emergency Management: gave a tour of OEM and provided useful background information on the intersection of water infrastructure and emergency planning.

Upcoming interviews:

  1. (environment/policy) Paul Bennett, Department of Environmental Protection: we are still waiting to confirm time and place of this interview.
  2. (policy) City Council Member: We are still researching the best person to contact.
  3. (policy) Mayor's Office Secretary: We are still waiting for a response.
  4. (environment) Kevin Bone: we will be interviewing him about his book "Water Works" next week.

Labor (past): We need to understand more clearly how labor interests intersect with the historical budget for the project. If we are unable to get information from the City on past budgets for the project, we will submit a FOIA request within the next couple of weeks. Our FOIA request will also include a request for information on shafts, to better understand where work (and disruptions) have been distributed along the tunnel.

Policy (present): Nausicaa suggested we speak with city council members who have been particularly active in the Water Tunnel No. 3 project or who represent jurisdictions in impacted areas (The Bronx, Jackson Heights, etc.). We'll also be contacting the Mayor's Office to understand from their perspective why they aren't highlighting the project as a critical investment and engineering feat.

Environment (future): We will continue to research the sectional conditions of the water tunnel and speculate about how we might map its path in section. Grga suggested Chris Reed's Projective Ecologies for inspiration. We will also be compiling a list of questions to ask Paul Bennett when we interview him after the break.

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