[UPDATE] WCHL’s newest reporter Freda Kahen-Kashi has the story – Mayor Mark Chilton Finds Faults With OWASA Plan.
[UPDATE 2] Further information on the meeting from the Daily Tar Heel.
They quote Gordon Merklein, OWASA Chair and UNC’s Director of Real Estate as saying â€œJordan Lake is essential because the other water supplies cannot meet all of the expected needs of the community over the next 50 years.â€
Continuing, the DTH says Merklein said the water might be needed sooner than expected. â€œRecent droughts have emphasized the need for a diverse water supply as we face increasingly uncertain future conditions of climate, land use and hydrology,â€ he said.
If this is an accurate quote then we should be concerned.
Chapel Hill’s Sustainability Visioning Task Force probed OWASA on this point repeatedly last year. They were told that the Long Range Water Plan, which relies on the local watershed, had sufficient resources allocated for non-emergency use without tapping Lake Jordan for the next 50 years.
Chapel Hill’s Town Council was told the same thing several times, last year when OWASA presented the Long Range Plan and as recently as last week.
Gordon is right highlighting the uncertainty in land use policy. Until Chapel Hill adopts policies which specifically tie resource constraints to growth, OWASA and other local agencies will have difficulty planning for the future.
Our community has invested heavily in acquiring and maintaining a watershed that was projected to suit our needs far longer than 50 years.
With the recent flurry of statements coming from OWASA’s Board to the contrary, do we need to re-evaluate that previous assertion? Like I said last night, what has changed so dramatically?
Or, rather than bungled projections, is this a case of wanting to accommodate a much higher growth rate than local resources will ever sustain?
Following up on yesterday’s post (Water, Water, Everywhere…), I just heard that Carrboro’s Board of Alderman have decided not to approve OWASA’s proposed amendments.
I don’t have anymore detail at the moment so I’m not quite sure if they agreed with all the points I outlined or had a few additional ones I didn’t pursue. In any case, maybe Council will now take time to review the provisions and reconsider last night’s vote.
Look for updates tomorrow.