Today the Daily Progress ran an article about the potential for a new council to change the current trajectory of the water supply plan.
I have been talking with many knowledgeable people about the plan, and the alternatives, and had been planning on writing an in-depth post on my position (something I plan on doing on a number of issues, currently working on public transportation). With the attention from the press perhaps it is best to offer a summary of why and where I stand on the water supply plan:
The one thing I have learned from everyone I have talked to is that almost everyone, (including right wingers) supports the idea of dredging the Southfork Reservoir. We should have begun this a long time ago, and we should be doing this on an ongoing basis. My view is that not only is this a decent alternative to building new expensive stuff, but we have an obligation to the planet to use existing resources to meet our needs.
THERE IS NO RUSH TO BUILD A NEW DAM!
Not all of the facts are in, we are awaiting a new water use projection study, plenty of tests need to be done, and the fact is a new council might have a significantly different approach to how to meet our water needs for the future. There are also hints that an historical analysis might be needed for structures in the path of a new dam at Ragged Mountain.
All of this should tell us that at the very least, we should wait for a new council to review the situation and either confirm or discard the current plan. The reason we are being told that this is a done deal is that interested parties (county developers) really want this done, if they tell us it can’t be stopped we are all supposed to move on. These are the same folks who tell us that we are going to run out of water if we don’t build something really expensive right now. Were not going to run out of water, usage has decreased despite a growing population.
I personally felt that the 5-0 decision to raise the existing dam and to dredge was a decent compromise, and for councilors to abandon that plan is upsetting to me. There is an impasse with the county, but it is our land and we make the decisions. Destruction of land, uphill pipelines, encouraging more water use for the benefit of developers in the county- none of this makes sense to me. I also note that citizens have a duty to challenge bad decisions through the courts if need be, and we should not blame any concerned citizen for doing their best to demand open government, honest information, and a sustainable future.
A new dam will come at a huge expense to taxpayers and rate payers.
If elected, and even if not, I will work to make sure dredging happens immediately. I will not support the construction of a new dam.
Further, I believe that all people have a right to clean drinking water. I believe that no resident of Charlottesville should have their water service disconnected for non-payment, rather, the city should instead make every effort to contact delinquent resident (not business) accounts and work out a plan for either re-payment, reduced rates, or free service.
I also firmly believe that the planet also has a right to be protected from overuse, exploitation, and degradation. I support the concept of sustainability in all aspects of city planning and operations.