Big news for all concerning the water supply plan!!!
The new demand analysis study came out Wednesday, and pretty much confirms what a lot of us had been assuming- water use is down, and is projected to remain down for a long time to come.
The actual numbers in the water demand analysis suggest that dredging, and a small extension of the existing dam will be ample enough water until 2055, and would even go beyond what the analysis says is enough for us. This is great news, but not a surprise. In fact, the old analysis suggested that use was declining, now we have accurate numbers to confirm not only that but that our future needs are likely to be much lower than the previous study suggested. (old study- 18.7 millions of gallons per day, new study- 16.2 millions of gallons per day). We also have some suggestions in the new plan about how to conserve more, and how to make things a little better on rate payers, which will also contribute to an even bigger reduction in water use.
One thing the supporters of the expensive and destructive new dam and pipeline have been crying about- drought- what would we do. I think they are missing the point. The demand analysis, and the reason for setting certain levels we need to meet already include the possibility of drought. Further, in any drought situation we should be trying to conserve water as a matter of responsible stewardship of the earth’s resources. So, no worries folks, no new dam and pipeline does not mean we are in danger of running out of water in a drought.
Another thing those folks will ask you- what’s wrong with having extra? Well, the energy requirements to pump water uphill are certainly a strain, the money spent when we don’t need to are a strain, the land and trees lost are a strain, and a whole host of other issues are a strain, and a waste. The thing we need to note is that we are required to do another demand and use analysis 5 years down the road, and 5 years after that and so on. As long as we continue to monitor what is going on we can always be aware if a new dam is necessary. We may even find that water use continues to decline as we encourage and utilize even more water saving systems and habits. We might possibly go way beyond 2055 before even needing to consider a new dam.
That is setting the bar high, and that is exactly what we need to do.
Some things to note for the coming months: The decision to move forward with the bad plan, while the permits exist, the proper studies still need to be done and the state requires public input before anything moves ahead. That process won’t be complete until after a new council is seated and nothing can move forward on the new dam and pipeline.
In the first meeting of city council, if I am elected, I will call for a reevaluation of the water supply plan now that we have ample evidence that we don’t need to build the destructive new dam and wasteful pipeline. As we do that, we will ensure that dredging of the southfork happens, that raising the existing dam gets moving, that a local workforce is involved in these projects, that a tiered rate system is examined and implemented in a fair way, and that no water service shut-offs happen for any of our residents.