Letter: Water plan decision being made without input
In late July of 2011, I attended a Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission meeting in Saluda. At this meeting, acting executive director Lewis Lawrence stated to the crowded room that all localities would be required to develop a water plan by Nov. 2, 2011. Our local representatives sitting around the oval table appeared to be somewhat confused, somewhat pressured by Mr. Lawrence, who himself appeared to be trying to help local representatives with such a daunting task so suddenly set before them.
However, it was all show. The Regional Water Supply Plan for the Middle Peninsula had already been developed by EEE Consulting Inc. of Mechanicsville, Va. EEE prepared for the MPPDC the Final Report for Submission to the State Water Control Board. The date on the cover page of the report was July 2011. The staff of the MPPDC also helped with the report as stated on the cover page. Wow!
We, the residents of the entire Middle Peninsula, have no worries. Just kidding, of course!
When our elected officials "define the breadth of enforcement needed (how big of a hammer)" will be used to force us to comply with this ‘plan’ made up for 333 pages should bring us what? Comfort? Some paperwork that too few residents have seen states that "broad discretion to local government administration to use or not to use hammer" is given.
This is the place where I turn the page and see words like the following:
"Plan defines four drought stages:
Abnormally dry—monitor well conditions and usage;
Drought warning—monitoring, education and voluntary conservation;
Drought watch—monitoring, education, voluntary conservation, conservation pricing allowed;
Drought emergency—mandatory reduction or cessation of non-essential uses, penalties, conservation pricing."
Obviously, this is important!
So, we residents should take notice and attend ‘public hearings’ on the matter, right? I so wish we could. Are there going to be ‘public hearings’ on this ‘water plan’ at the local level?
I heard the chairman of the Mathews County Board of Supervisors say last Thursday night at a meeting in our old courthouse that "We don’t need a public hearing on the water supply plan." Well, I think we the people who live, work, give birth, die and pay taxes here in our local counties and cities should have a voice in what is happening. Many of us get our water from our own private water wells. We should have our voices heard. Who are these people telling our elected officials what they will do and how they will do it?
Cobbs Creek, Va.