The im­pend­ing water war

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Some think that if you ig­nore a prob­lem it could go away. There is a prob­lem in Charles County that if it is ig­nored, it will go away. That prob­lem is water sup­ply.

Presently, there’s a bat­tle over the Wa­ter­shed Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict. Win­ning that bat­tle with an adopted WCD avoids a real war that oth­er­wise will come: the water war.

One of the goals of the WCD is to tamp down sprawl growth not only to con­serve Mat­ta­woman Creek, but also to con­serve drink­ing water.

Some folks don’t want re­stric­tions on devel­op­ment. But if some­thing isn’t done now, there will be ma­jor re­stric­tions on water con­sump­tion, or there will sim­ply be no water at all, or no devel­op­ment at all.

There is no com­pre­hen­sive plan for water sup­ply in the [county’s] com­pre­hen­sive plan. There have been stud­ies, but no clear course of ac­tion to solve the prob­lem.

For those who are new to Charles County or un­aware, the com­pre­hen­sive plan tells that the county presently has no means to sup­ply enough water for the de­mand by 2040. The aquifers could be de­pleted.

Some­one who just bought a house could need a new source for water, could face water re­stric­tions or have no water at all be­fore their mort­gage is even paid off.

New busi­nesses will refuse to lo­cate here with an un­cer­tain water sup­ply. Present busi­nesses will com­pete with res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment for sup­ply, will see their costs in­crease and their prof­its evap­o­rate.

Charles County is hav­ing grow­ing pains. One of the old­est coun­ties in the coun­try is the youngest when it comes to in­fra­struc­ture, es­pe­cially water­works. Hook­ing up with WSSC is not an op­tion for re­mote ar­eas. Re­verse os­mo­sis is ex­tremely ex­pen­sive, has some en­vi­ron­men­tal draw­backs and is not yet vi­able. Water is not free. Water is col­or­less.

2040 is not that far away. Charles County needs to face the costs of devel­op­ment. The Wa­ter­shed Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict does that by greatly re­duc­ing water de­mand and avoids hav­ing to pay the piper.

Mary Pat Do­herty, Nan­je­moy

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