Rockland County does not need a new long-term water supply project.
Demand for water has, in fact, dropped in recent years. Easily accessible, more affordable and sustainable demand-side options exist to curb any potential future demand increase.
- The PSC cannot allow UW to build a plant that would raise Rockland County’s water rates to among the highest in the nation when there is no demonstrated need for a new long-term water supply project.
- Contrary to projections, demand for water has not increased – in fact, it has decreased. Data in the report suggests that demand would not exceed availability until at least 2025 – giving Rockland County plenty of time to implement sustainable water management policies.
- Nationwide, the trend in water use is that demand is actually decreasing even as population increases.
- It is likely that a dramatic increase in water rates will actually lead to a marked decrease in demand. Desalination plants in Brockton, Massachusetts and Australia have become “stranded assets” – by the time these desalination plants went online, ratepayers had reduced their water usage, meaning the expensive plants sit today unused.
- The 2011 United States Geological Survey study of Rockland County’s groundwater resources concluded that more water was available from Rockland County’s aquifers than previously thought.
- Rockland County’s 2011 Comprehensive Plan recommended developing a comprehensive county water policy and promoting water conservation. As the County implements these recommendations, water demand will continue to decrease.
- Three simple changes in water management could reduce demand by 7.5 mgd (the amount of additional supply United Water claims Rockland County “needs”) for a fraction of the cost and none of the environmental impact of a desalination plant: conservation; leak detection and repair; and sending less water to New Jersey from Lake DeForest.
- With 49 inches of annual rainfall, Rockland has a water management problem, not a water supply problem! Desalination is the option of last resort, the most expensive water supply source, for arid areas.
- United Water sends water daily to its northern New Jersey customers. We call for fair management of the reservoir. We question, will Rockland pay exorbitant rates for water from the Hudson, while NJ customers get even more of our fresh water?
- Experts find that water conservation/efficiency measures and fair management of Rockland County’s Lake DeForest reservoir are sufficient to meet Rockland County’s needs. We do not need a costly and energy-intensive desalination plant that exposes Rockland to health risks from Indian Point releases into the river.