WCD will increase property values, not hurt them
Charles County has an ongoing fresh water access crisis due to over development within the county, resulting in more residents using more water. New housing developments are far worse culprits than older ones since all of that sod being laid for new yards needs watering to get it growing and keep it intact.
Many older neighborhoods in Charles County, whose residents have lived through the water restriction droughts within the last couple of decades, now have their HOAs dealing with just having their residents keep their grass mowed to acceptable levels, and letting lawns that go dormant (due to summer heat) remain that way instead of demanding residents throw precious, costly fresh ground water on grass to keep it green.
According to USGS, Charles County well number CH Dd 33 — which has a depth of 694 feet and accesses Upper Patapsco aquifer of the Patapsco Formation of Lower Cretaceous age — had a below surface access to water of 88 feet in 1962, and had dropped to 148 feet in 2012. That’s a 60-foot drop in 50 years to fresh groundwater access of a very huge regional underground aquifer.
That drop is due to increased housing development throughout Charles County. The Zekiah Swamp Run, near Newtown, is now experiencing its lowest flow in history due to groundwater diversions from municipal well fields at Waldorf and occasional farm irrigation upstream during summer months. Overall, within the last decade, there has been a far greater minimum discharge from that swamp than maximum. Which translates into a lower overall freshwater table throughout Charles County, if Zekiah Swamp is used as an additional litmus test regarding the rate freshwater access is being lost due to increased housing.
The more homes built in Charles County, the faster the fresh groundwater depletion rate increases — reducing home and land values. If housing growth in any county sector keeps increasing at its current rate, residents will either have to pay for desalination plants or tap into Blue Plains water sewage treatment coming out of Washington, D.C., which runs through Prince George’s County. Both will increase the cost of water to both residents and businesses.
Wisdom resides within enacting the watershed conservation district when it comes to protecting property values. Land that has easier and greater access to fresh ground water will maintain its value far better than land that has to access a more chemically-sanitized water product that originates from polluted environments like the Chesapeake Bay or Potomac River.
I have to question our state and county officials abilities if they do indeed think access to fresh ground water has nothing to do with maintaining or increasing property values. The WCD is not going to decrease property values; at a very minimum, it’s going to maintain them — if not increase them.
Folks are moving out of cities to get away from living on top of each other, or living in a commuting nightmare mess like exists in Virginia. Great shades of Loudoun County, has anyone from Charles County even taken a look at that ongoing overdeveloped mess? Do we really need that here in Charles County, where commuting times already rival much of Virginia, but without all of the ugly concrete and asphalt?
The more trees we maintain intact, the cleaner our air is and the healthier we are. The less impervious surfaces we lay via houses, driveways and access roads, the more rain and melting snow is absorbed to maintain our aquifers. That water keeps our natural tributaries intact so we can enjoy having a wildlife-friendly county where our children can enjoy seeing eagles, ospreys, herons, deer, terrapins and tortoises in a natural environment.
Access to nature increases property values, or else billionaires wouldn’t be owning ranches or building remote scenic mountain lodges as vacation homes. Fewer homes being built in a WCD will be worth far more than multiple homes increasing suburbia. Mary R. Adler, Waldorf