I love newspapers and news blogs. I love reporters. I used to be a reporter. I come from 150 years of men – and one grandmother, Cyrene Bakke Dear – who published local community newspapers from Jersey City to Sedalia, Mo.
In the '60s my mom and dad got a lot of late-night, threatening calls from the Klan in my hometown of Elizabeth City, NC for what my dad did through the Daily Advance. David Dear informed the community with courage. He was also an equal opportunity employer before the phrase existed and he got threats for that, too.
[At the March 1, 2011,
meeting of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, in response to a request from
the OWASA Board of Directors to facilitate greater access to water from
Jordan Lake, Mayor Mark Chilton made the following remarks. The Editors of OP asked if we could publish his comments here as a blog post, and he agreed. -Ed.]
What the evidence that was just laid out before you clearly shows is that our community is capable of living with the water supply we have now, that the water supply now is very substantial, is scheduled to grow significantly in 2035, and that water conservation efforts have proved to be more effective than—I think they've really proved to be more effective than anybody would have guessed 10 years ago, than the most wild-eyed optimists would have believed 10 years ago. We've been more successful than that. We have not even exhausted the water conservation and water efficiency technologies and policies and procedures that even possibly could be implemented within our community.
When the Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted on March 1 against a request by OWASA to amend the Water and Sewer Management, Planning and Boundary Agreement (WSMPBA) -- and the Chapel Hill Town Council followed suit on April 25 -- the local water and sewer utility found itself in need of a compromise or a new strategy.
Despite serious misgivings among some local officials, OWASA is moving forward on discussions with the City of Durham, Chatham County, Orange County, and other neighboring jurisdictions to secure future access to Jordan Lake water.
There is a lot of pressure from Chatham County because they over-built beyond their capacity to provide water during the high growth heyday of the Bunky Morgan era. OWASA is a valuable ally to these other jurisdictions because it owns a prime piece of land on the west shore of Jordan Lake that is ideal for a water intake.
Having just read this article (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/orange/story/1103191.html) I do not know how I feel about this issue. On one and Jordan Lake seems to be a rather large body of water. So, why not tap into it?
On the other hand, it is a fixed source of water and as I look around I see many people and institutions waste this precious resource (water). Let's use the water that we have responsibly first. Then, when we need more, tap into other sources. I am leaning towards this idea.
OWASA, Durham, & Chatham County have agreed to jointly explore the possibility of installing a water intake on the west shore of Jordan Lake where OWASA owns property. Our local Orange County governments have some misgivings about the project and these were discussed at the Orange County Assembly of Governments meeting last night, which was also attended by Durham Mayor Bill Bell and Chatham County Commission Chair George Lucier. The following is a statement that I prepared for presentation at that meeting. (I actually ended up talking off the cuff to avoid repeating points that others had previously made.)
I was glad to read in Lisa Sorg's article in the Independent ( www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A168911 ) a couple of weeks ago that OWASA is contemplating emergency back-up plans for providing water to Chapel Hill and Carrboro. But I was concerned to read that one of the options under consideration is the construction of a new water-intake at Jordan Lake.
Those interested in water quality may want to attend a Public Hearing for the Proposed Water Supply Nutrient Strategy for B. Everett Jordan Reservoir. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June July 12, at The Century Center.
This is one of three hearings being held by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality. A good overview can be found in their public notice.