New York, NY—March 6, 2019—After years of debate and protests over water use, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that the State of New York will purchase the water used in the world’s largest water arena for use in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that it will purchase a 3.4 billion gallon (21.2 billion liters) water supply from the World Food Programme and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for use during the 2018 World Cup.
“This deal demonstrates that we can work together to meet the challenges of climate change and the water crisis that impacts millions of people around the world,” Governor Cuomo said.
“The new world-class arena in downtown New York is the perfect venue for hosting the Winter Games.”
“We’re proud to work with the New York Department of Conservation, UNDP and the World Health Organization to secure the best water for the 2018 Olympics,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“We are thrilled that the New Yorkers are finally making a strong and meaningful commitment to their citizens.”
New York state’s Governor has been working for more than a decade to secure water for future Olympics venues, with the city initially committing to purchasing the entire water supply for the venue from a private company.
The governor was initially opposed to the purchase because the arena, located in Queens, is considered too expensive for large events.
However, in February 2018, New Yorkers voted to support a ballot measure that would guarantee a minimum water supply at the arena to the tune of $7 billion for the event, with $1 billion of that to be provided through the UNDP.
The announcement by the DEC was welcomed by the UN.
“By purchasing this water supply, we will ensure that the Games are held at an appropriate level for all New Yorkers, including those in vulnerable areas,” UNDP Director-General António Guterre said.
As part of the deal, NewYork state will use the water for Olympic swimming pools, a park and an outdoor skating rink.
The DEC said it will provide water for an additional 30,000 Olympic swimming pool swimmers, and will provide 20,000 ice rinks for the outdoor skating competition.
“It’s going to be really cool to be able to put ice rink after ice rinky, and to have that water flowing in a very natural way, which is what’s important for the health of the environment,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The purchase of the water was announced by Governor Cuomo after a two-day meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, and representatives of the U.L.N., which has called on the U of A to purchase water from New York for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
In addition, the U-L.B.P. announced that they would purchase water for all athletes at the 2020 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which will also use water from the city.
“There is no better way to help the Olympics than to use New York’s water resources for an event that’s going in such a beautiful way,” said UNDP President Paulo Guterrez.
“New York is taking a lead role in making sure that the world can come together to help us achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”
“This water is going to help all of us at the Olympics,” Mayor de Blasio added.
The United Nations has been pressing New York to use water in an environmentally responsible manner, with New York being the largest city in the United States to use the full amount of water from all sources.
In 2017, the UN spent more than $1.3 billion on water for international sporting events, including hosting the Olympics, the World Cup, the Pan Am Games, the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup tournaments.
“When you’re using water, it’s important to consider the impacts it has on the environment, including on the water you use,” U.U.N.-Korea Special Representative of the Department of Water, Sanjoy Majumdar, said in a statement.
“Awareness about the impact of water on the health and livelihood of people and the environment is a matter of urgent concern and requires concerted action.”
The water purchase comes at a time when the United Kingdom is also seeking to reduce water use for its international sporting competitions, which were among the largest contributors to the London Olympics in 2012.
The World Water Sports Federation (WSWSF), which is responsible for the water management and supply of international sports events, said the purchase of water is a “huge step” for the UK.
“Our focus remains on our athletes and the public,” said WSWSF President Mark Jones.
“As the world grows more dependent on water, water resources are critical to ensure safe and sustainable development and sustainable societies. This is