An important public hearing will be held on Tuesday Dec 20th at 9:30 AM at DEEP's 79 Elm St. offices. Up for public comment will be a proposed regulation concerning Water Diversion Exemptions, identified by Tracking Number: PR2016-053.
Currently a Water Utility Co-ordinating Committee (W.U.C.C.) process is underway on a state level, in which water utilities are laying claim to "Exclusive Service Areas" (ESAs). In any given ESA, only the single water utility of record will be able to provide public drinking water service. Previously unclaimed areas of the state are up for grabs as are areas where current water suppliers are relinquishing their current claims. Water utilitites wish to be able to move water into or out of these newly expanded "ESA's" without the need for the diversion permits, which necessitate environmental reviews. Without the need for environmental review, streams can be sucked dry or new water pipelines can be extended to areas far beyond where they were originally intended.
SaveOurWaterCT is in support of the proposed amendment to section 22a-377(b)-1 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies to eliminate the exemption for use of registered water throughout an Exclusive Service Area. Essentially, water utilitites that expand their ESAs "will no longer be exempt from environmental permitting when they move water into newly ballooning and merged exclusive service areas" (see Rivers Alliance: www.riversalliance.org/Topics/Streamflow.cfm#registrations ).
Public comments will be accepted at the hearing or online until 4:30 pm on Dec 20th. They can be made on line either via email (Corrine.Fitting@ct.gov) or through the eRegulations site at eregulations.ct.gov/eRegsPortal/Search/RMRView/PR2016-053. Click the "COMMENT NOW" button. Please reference "Proposed Regulation Concerning Water Diversion Exemptions; Tracking Number PR2016-053 in your subject line on any emails. SUPPORT THE PROPOSED REGULATION.
Additional information on the new regulation is available at DEEP's website: www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=4808&Q=588490&deepNav_GID=1511
Diversions are essentially withdrawals of water from streams, rivers, reservoirs, or well fields. In 1982-3 over 1800 were "grandfathered" in, representing over 75% of all water taken in the state. Newer "takings" require a DEEP permit in order to ensure there is a proper balance of water use for humans, agriculture, aquatic environment, recreation, and industry. Currently these grandfathered diversions contain more water than actually exists in certain watersheds. A way to review and wisely permit them is urgently needed as part of the state's water plan. This proposed regulation covers a tiny slice of the problem, but is an important way to begin to re-gain control of the process.
"Bottling Plant a Wake-Up Call on State Water": by Tom Condon (see Bio below)
Save Our Water CT
Citizen advocates acting to protect and conserve Connecticut's public trust waters.