Southwest Regional Pipeline Hearing May 4
Southwest Regional Pipeline Diversion Application
Public Hearing on May 4, 2021
There will be a virtual public hearing via ZOOM on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 3:00 pm on DEEP’s tentative determination to approve Aquarion’s permit application to nearly double the amount of water that can be transferred from the Greater Bridgeport system to the Southwest Fairfield County Region (view the full notice).
How to submit comments: Written comments can be submitted to the DEEP Office of Adjudications via e-mail (email@example.com) or mail (Office of Adjudications, DEEP Headquarters, 79 Elm Street, 3rd Floor, Hartford, 06106) by the close of business on May 15, 2021.
How to register for the hearing: Click here or call 860-424-3037.
While Rivers Alliance does not dispute the need to increase the transfer of water to the Southwest Fairfield County Region (remember that pipeline along the Merritt Parkway during the 2016-2017 drought?), we do not support nearly doubling the amount that can be transferred to this region. Here’s why:
Conservation Apathy: Aquarion must have cooperation from the towns to implement conservation programs and enforcement for these programs. Increasing the amount of available water may reduce interest in cooperating with Aquarion to implement further, necessary conservation measures.
No Protections from Pumping of Groundwater Sources: Canal Street, Coleytown and Housatonic Wellfields are registered groundwater diversions. Adjacent surface waters that rely on this groundwater for flow are not protected by streamflow regulations.
What if this large investment in infrastructure isn’t necessary? Infrastructure is expensive and the conversations about water affordability have only begun to get started. We live in a region where infrastructure, in general, is at the end of it’s useful life span. The cost of maintenance and replacement often places a burden on rate payers.
However, increasing the amount of water that can be transferred will allow Aquarion to meet streamflow requirements for the reservoirs in the Southwest Fairfield County Region and minimize the need to utilize offramps for streamflow requirements during drought.
The Greater Bridgeport System’s supply is “… drawn from a system of eight reservoirs (Aspetuck, Easton Lake, Far Mill, Hemlocks, Means Brook, Saugatuck, Trap Falls and West Pequonnock). … Water also is drawn from … Westport and Coleytown well fields.” (Aquarion Water Company 2019 Water Quality Report Greater Bridgeport System page 4)
Are there other alternatives? Please take a look at our comments submitted to DEEP and feel free to use our talking points in your comments to DEEP. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
Upcoming Water Rates Workshop
Must water conservation be continually at odds with revenue generation for water providers? Learn more about what tools are available to water providers in order to set rates and revenue generation that are not prohibitive to conservation. This workshop will be held on March 16-17, 2021 from 9am – 12pm. The agenda will focus on rates, water utility revenue stability, and conservation pricing. Hosted by the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the Water Planning Council, this FREE workshop will provide practical advice and tools to help water utilities navigate the difficult area of rate setting. Registration is required.
The workshop is open to anyone and we strongly encourage those who are engaged in or watchful of rate making and conservation promotion activities of their local utility. Also, please encourage your state representatives and local decision makers to attend.