Stream Flow Regulations

10/20/2010

UPDATE – on October 26, 2010, the Regs Review Committee unanimously ruled to reject without prejudice these regulations.

CEDAS members should communicate with their legislators to encourage the regulations review committee to vote against the proposed stream flow regulations. These regulations could have further limit Connecticut's ability to grow its economy. The legislature’s Regulations Review Committee is voting on the state Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) proposed stream flow regulations on October 26 and we should urging rejection.

Several water companies have assessed the impact of the proposed regulations on public water supplies and concluded that the mandatory reservoir releases and uncertainty regarding groundwater supplies will negatively affect economic development in many areas of the state. For example, based on Aquarion Water Company’s analysis, under the regulations, systems that currently have adequate water supplies, such as Stamford, will be left with barely enough water to meet current demands and unable to provide for the growth for which these communities are planning. In addition, systems such as the Greater Bridgeport system, which currently has excess supply and is looked to by Aquarion and others to help solve water supply problems throughout the region, will be forced to develop new supplies just to meet local needs.

The Southwestern Fairfield County Region (including New Canaan, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich) would be reduced from a 12% supply surplus to a marginally adequate supply to meet current demands. Demand reduction through conservation would help reduce these margin-of-safety deficits, but not eliminate them. Aquarion would need to consider measures such as moratoriums on new service connections to control demand growth in these communities until additional supplies could be developed.

Consequently, the pace, and potentially the extent of economic development in Fairfield County and elsewhere in Aquarion service territory will need to be controlled due to lack of available water supply. In addition, the regulations will result in a 10% increase in water rates due to costs associated with infrastructure changes and developing new supplies.

Water companies in other regions of the state anticipate similar problems. Although we support the intent of the regulations – to develop a balanced framework for protecting aquatic life while providing for public health, safety, economic development, agriculture and other water needs – the proposed regulations fail to achieve this necessary balance.


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