WE CALLED AND YOU ANSWERED!
A standing room only crowd gave testimony on Monday evening Dec 5, 2016 during a public hearing prior to a vote of the commissioners on whether to rescind the "industrial water rate" and "special sewer service charge discount" set up last December to benefit Niagara Bottling of CA.
The discounts would have kicked in once the private water bottling corporation used over 500,000 gallons of water per day, essentially incentivizing the large-volume super-user to use even more of the district's water. Last year's rate structure would have given the bottling giant a nearly $2M/yr discount if all 4 bottling lines were open: a 19% discount on water once the low rate was triggered and a nearly 80% discount on the special sewer service charge (aka the clean water project charge). Meanwhile, resident's water rates and clean water project charges went up. The discount would have applied only to Niagara this year, and was developed after email pleas by the corporation that doing business here would require special incentives.
Water bottlers have come under fire recently for aggressively marketing single-serve bottles of water (often filled partly with re-packaged municipal water); for the environmental harm caused by billiions of long-lasting PET bottles littering the landfills, rivers, and oceans; and for the oil, water, and energy used in creating and transporting the heavy water bottles. Once one major water bottler was essentially invited into the state, and rewarded with attractive rates for Grade A CT water, fears mounted that more could follow in its steps. Markets outside CT-such as the metro Boston area- have been one of the targets. The shipment of water outside the state's watershed, especially during the most signficiant drought since the 1960's, is particularly problematic.
As water utilities struggle with debt service and the need to replace infrastructure, they have turned to selling more water as their primary tool for revenue enhancement, even while preaching conservation to their residential consumers. Pricing structures utilizing "conservation pricing" and including infrastructure replacement reserves need to be developed and adopted for municipal water utilities in the state.
Save Our Water CT
Citizen advocates acting to protect and conserve Connecticut's public trust waters.