Water: The Essential but Scarce Resource

If Connecticut's water supply dries up, are we prepared?

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Is Connecticut prepared to handle a water emergency?
Photo:Tom Raftery (Flickr Creative Commons)
Virginia DeLima from the USGS
Photo:Chion Wolf
David Radka from Connecticut Water Company
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Pat Bresnahan from the Willimantic River Alliance
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Guest host Neena Satija
Photo:Chion Wolf
Water: The Essential but Scarce Resource
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Water: The Essential but Scarce Resource

Today, nearly a third of the US. is in severe drought. In places like Kansas and Texas, reservoirs and wells are actually running dry. Even here in the Northeast, where we get plenty of rain, water is still a scarce resource. The University of Connecticut already doesn’t have enough water to meet its needs, and the plans to quench its thirst have been controversial. Paul Formica is First Selectman in East Lyme, which faces water shortages every summer.

“I think water is going to be the next big problem for this country," said First Selectman of East Lyme Paul Formica. "I think that it’s going to eclipse what we’re doing with oil. I think there will be wars fought over water 25 years from now. I think it’s going to be the most important resource that we learn how to manage.” 

Today, we'll look at how we’re handling our water resources here in Connecticut and across the country. Are you dealing with drought conditions in your town? Does it affect your business or your lifestyle or both? We want to hear from you.



Email from Patrick

Please consider doing another show on the largest threat to Americans Water. Global Corps and their plan to monopolize water
With minimal research you will find a frightening plan by the Nestle Corp to monopolize our water.
When you realize how close they are to owning your drinking water you will wonder if it isnt to late.
Please review the deceptive tactics and the history of subversive activities by Nestle to accomplish each contract . The public needs to know what they are trying to hide or they will own Americas Water.
The attached File "All Bottled Up" is a well documented report by an unbiased source that should provide you with facts to pursue another show that allm of your listeners deserve to know.
The You Tube Link is another good resource with well documented facts to prove Americans are being scammed out of their water.


Email from Brendan

I grew grew up in the virgin islands, the majority of water for domestic consumption is collected from rain water and stored in cisterns. My alma mater, Johnson and Wales University, built a large expansion of their culinary facility that utilizes this concept for their water use. Why can't UConn use the same concept?

Email from Dori

We should HALT the planned expansion at the Storrs UConn campus to protect water. The UConn teams have major conflicts of interest and have been systematically reducing our ability as Mansfield residents to have a say in local government. Their public/private plans with companies like GE have been "more important" than resident needs, and "more important" than sound environmental planning. We need fully independent environmental impact evaluations and a review of water resource use for Storrs and other parts of the region before any of the investors obtain permits from the State. Increasingly though we are seeing human needs overshadowed by so called "financial needs" as the goal of development is being sold to us as if it were more important that water we will need for the future.

A much better environmental impact evaluation must be done to learn the real problems that would be created by building various pipelines into UConn Storrs. This conversation about what UConn is doing to conserve fails to take into consideration what is being planned for the future and no amount of conservation will be enough to offset their taking 5 million gallons per day (to begin with) from local water sources and or the MDC.

To date corporations and attorneys involved have been moving without sufficient transparency. For instance they drafted an EIE, environmental impact evaluation, for Connecticut Water Co., and Windham Water Works... then brought MDC in afterward. UConn's environmental compliance staffer Jason Coite told us at a meeting of the CEQ that they were reviewing the EIE for possible changes after MDC was added as a "plan". Any EIE should be fully complete, and should include all of the water companies involved before it is submitted to the state for permits.

UConn planners and the State of Connecticut should be downsizing their planned expansion for the University of Connecticut because of the know water shortage here. The campus has known fractured rock aquifer conditions and is a "dry" location unless water is "piped in". For this reason locating a major corporate technical park is a very bad idea. The costly plan is dangerous financially and because of potential water shortages in the future. The plan to pipe in water from 52 miles away would fly in the face of all that is known about inter basin water transfer. This could be dangerous to major State of Connecticut water resources needed by residents on both sides of the Connecticut.

The UConn plan was advertised as a plan to serve student needs. That is false. Those needs could have been met by less than 1 million gallons per day going forward according to statements and written materials from the university and Town of Mansfield. Yet the planners at UConn are now seeking FIVE million gallons per day, and that is because residents are simply losing the right to have a say in what happens.

Town offices, town meetings are swamped by corporate developers, focus group leaders, and PR teams. They are planning an open ended development in Storrs and would drain reservoirs to accomplish their plans. Some of the realtors who stand to profit from development at sites that have polluted ground water, (four corners site, Mansfield) served on so called "advisory groups" that pushed Mansfield town officials into accepting the UConn plan as a way to "pay for it all". This of course helps realtors profit from development but does not help residents who pay for the new infrastructure and water utility development anyway in the form of higher real estate taxes and state taxes.

For 2013 Mansfield residents are being asked to pay additional real estate taxes to cover "development" even as school funding remains flat, needed repairs are being put off. This will only get worse as the corporations planning to co locate at the campus wreck the system of checks and balances and insult us by paying zero in real estate taxes to the town and zero in corporate taxes to the state.

We must protect human needs for water, and protect many endangered species that live within beautiful Mansfield Hollow Lake Reservoir and other area reservoirs. Another risk we face is that the State of Connecticut might set up a new and politicized water planning (siting) entity. Unless state environmental groups who focus on our water and our rivers and reservoirs is included no statewide planning group will be fair and democratic.

Email from Joan

I think one of the best ways to encourage conservation is to modify the way we are billed for water. I get my water from the Regional Water Authority and no matter what my actual usage is, my service charge is almost $43 per quarter and my usage charge is $3.179 per CCF ( I normally use 8-9 CCF per quarter). There is no incentive for us to conserve.

Email from Georg

What gets priority? Conserving water or using water to rinse recyclables?

Email from Deborah

I wonder if your guests treat water as a scarce resource in their personal use of water?

Here's why I ask. Like most people, I've had the experience of being in times or places where water is short, and changing my behavior accordingly. I think of myself as being a reasonably responsible consumer of water. However, not long ago, I was visited by an uncle of mine who has spent his career in sub-Saharan Africa, working on deforestation issues. He was APPALLED by some of the things that we do without thinking. For instance, he would never dream of rinsing dishes under running water; he would put water in a basin and rinse dishes there.

This leads me to ask:

1. In their personal behavior, do your guests treat water as a scarce or precious resource?
2. Does the price we pay for water accurately reflect its costs? In Connecticut? Globally?
3. Does it matter if water-rich parts of the globe change their water behavior?

Email from Bruce

What are the economics of roof collection systems? A 1000 square ft roof area in CT should be able to collect 25,000 gallons per year based on average rainfall numbers. I know the type of roof might be of concern regarding leaching certain chemicals for potable water, but certainly many uses would still be acceptable. Thoughts about current or future tax incentives similar to renewable energy incentives?

Email from Cyril

I have heard that stepped rates for water are successful in encouraging water conservation, for example allowing households a basic quantity of water at a basic low rate, but provide additional water at an increased fee thereby. Education is good...but water is so cheap the homeowners, businesses and others use it as if it were....water. Unfortunately, such a turn of phrase leads to waste and to less water for natural areas. The Quinnipiac River sometimes gets low due to overuse.

Email from Carol

Fracking concerns me. I know we don' t have it in CT yet, but I can't believe it won't eventually effect the water supply. Why can't the fracking companies clean and reuse water?

Email from Liz

I live in north haven we have wells and I am very concerned because a lot of homes have sprinkler systems which run even if it is raining out. During the April drought I was afraid to plant my garden because of lack of water. I think the town should limit the sprinkler systems and fine anyone who runs them when it is raining.