History of the Water Systems
As the population of New York City grew in the 19th century, so did the need for water. The first use of water from Westchester County came from the old Croton Dam (forming what was called Croton Lake), which was completed in 1842. In the 1880s, the City faced increasing demands for water and therefore needed to enlarge the Croton Reservoir to meet that need.
The enlargement of the Croton Reservoir (with the construction of the New Croton Dam and the forming of the New Croton Reservoir) was completed in 1906 as a part of a system of reservoirs designed to bring water from Putnam and Westchester Counties (the Croton Watershed) to New York City. It is called the New Croton Reservoir because the Croton Reservoir was actually the name of a made made reservoir right in the heart of Manhattan - Link.
Cross River ReservoirThe Cross River Reservoir was put into service in 1908. The resulting body of water is one of twelve reservoirs in the Croton Watershed, the southernmost of New York City's watersheds.
Titicus ReservoirThe Titicus Dam was constructed between 1890 and 1895 and the reservoir was placed into service in 1893.
The Croton RiverAs you can see from this 1858 map, what is now inundated with large large bodies of water was just a simple river system back in the mid 19th Century,
The Croton Reservoirs today...
Muscoot ReservoirThe reservoir was completed in 1905 and serves as the main collecting point for all the reservoirs in the Croton Watershed (except for the New Croton Reservoir, which later receives its water).
New Croton ReservoirThe New Croton Reservoir is the collecting point for water from all reservoirs in the Croton Watershed. In 1842 the Croton River, a tributary of the Hudson River, was impounded by the Old Croton Dam to create Croton Lake. It was New York City's first source of water beyond its city limits and its waters traveled by aqueduct to the Croton Distributing Reservoir in midtown Manhattan.
In 1905 the New Croton Dam was completed, expanding the existing area of impounded water.