Utica, NY (WIBX) - It won't lower your water bill, but a long-awaited agreement between the Mohawk Valley Water Authority and NYS Canal Corporation, promises to benefit Oneida and Herkimer County communities. "The long standing litigation between the Canal Corporation and the water Authority has been suspended.  The historic agreement that we announce today protects drinking water for the customers of the water Authority, while allowing the Canal Corporation to fulfill its primary mission of operating the state's 524-mile canal system," said, Brian U. Stratton, Director, New York State Canal Corporation.

Patrick Becher, Executive Director, MVWA, says the agreement allows the Authority to have immediate access to 32-million gallons of water a day for its customers. "We will have Hinckley Reservoir operated under oversight of the canal system within a normal operating range, hopefully not to go below 1195' elevation, which is comfortably above what we saw in 2007, but it does provide an ample amount of water for both drinking supply, canal operation and also, down stream flows to maintain the West Canada Creek below the dam," Becher said.

Also, a reserve amount has been set aside to meet water needs in Herkimer County. Becher said, "We discussed the fact that the communities in the lower West Canada Creek are natural repairing users of that basin, and that amounts of water has been set aside in this agreement to to be available to communities in the Herkimer Valley at some point in the future, if they ever wish to avail themselves of that."

Officials say the binding agreement satisfies all parties involved and lays out a working solution to maintain and manage Hinckley Reservoir. In 2005, MVWA challenged a 1917 agreement that required it to be responsible for maintaining the upstream reservoir, in order to use Hinckley Reservoir water.