We’ve all heard what happens when compromises are made around community water supplies. Unfortunately, three newly proposed projects could put your drinking water at risk.
The kicker? Right now, Connecticut is in the midst of a water planning process for the entire state, which will guide wise policy-making. In 2014, amid debate over a UConn proposal to access 1.3 million gallons of water per day, the state legislature passed a bill requiring the development of a state water plan to guide the management of Connecticut’s water resources. The plan is supposed to be completed in 2017 and submitted to the state legislature in January 2018.
But instead of waiting for real data and a comprehensive plan, haphazard projects are coming out of the woodwork.
Can you sign our petition to support clean drinking water in Connecticut?
Trading Lands for Gravel Mining
The City of New Britain and construction materials company Tilcon Connecticut have revived a 2007 deal that would let Tilcon mine on city-owned land—including protected Class I drinking water lands—for the next 40 years.
When the new gravel quarry is exhausted, the property will revert to the city. New Britain will have a new reservoir—surrounded by acres of land that have been degraded by decades of mining activity.
At a New Britain public meeting on February 17, a number of residents expressed concerns about water safety, whether the city needs another reservoir, and the implications for drinking water lands protection statewide. Plainville will hold a public meeting on Thursday, March 3, at 6:00 PM at the Council Chambers at the Municipal Center, 1 Central Square, Plainville. We encourage all area residents to attend with your questions or concerns.
Does New Britain need a new reservoir? Is this the best site for it? That’s the kind of question the state water plan will help answer. Until we know the answer, it’s premature to commit to a major project that will take decades to complete.
Bottling Bloomfield’s Water for Profit
Niagara Bottling is proposing to bottle 1.8 million gallons of Connecticut’s reservoir water per day at an enormous new facility in Bloomfield and ship it off for sale elsewhere. This project is bad for the environment, bad for residents, and bad for Connecticut. To read CFE’s comments to Mayor Gamble and the Bloomfield Town Council, click here. For more info on this issue, follow the Bloomfield Citizens’ SAVE OUR WATER Facebook page.
The size of this withdrawal could seriously impact Connecticut’s water supply and economy. There’s nothing more important than a safe, adequate supply of drinking water—so it’s critical to provide substantial public input opportunities and sufficient transparency around decision making. Citizens from Bloomfield and surrounding communities have tirelessly organized around this issue, packed town meetings, written comments, and earned print, TV, and radio coverage. But the city’s government appears to have pressed forward with only cursory reviews. We hope that as discussions around this proposal continue, complete and timely information is provided to the public, along with frequent and substantive opportunities for public input.
Permitting a project of this magnitude prior to the completion of the State Water Plan is a poor policy decision with statewide effects that run counter to Connecticut’s desire to fully understand its water supplies and to develop better-informed state guidelines for water usage.
Putting a Fracked Gas Pipeline on MDC Lands
A proposal to run expand a natural gas pipeline through Metropolitan District lands is yet another example of what can go wrong when water planning isn’t taken seriously. The route, proposed by a Tennessee-based energy company, traverses Class I and Class II protected watershed lands that provide high-quality drinking water to hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents. Connecticut has strong protective legislation for drinking water lands—some of the strongest in the nation—that should not be weakened or tampered with. These lands should only be used to protect drinking water; allowing the a construction of a gas pipeline sets a dangerous precedent.
We should wait on all projects, including the proposed MDC pipeline, until the final state water plan is in place.
Take Action Now
Connecticut’s cities and towns don’t have to endure the devastating effects of bad decision making that other communities have been through. A thorough state water plan is the first step in making good choices. Why would we push forward major initiatives with potentially devastating impacts before that plan has been completed?
We have the power to stop the damage before it ever occurs, but we need your help—sign the petition and help us keep our clean drinking water healthy.