In response to a public outcry against a proposed diversion of water from the Farmington River basin to supplement the growing needs of the University of Connecticut campus and the town of Storrs, UConn officials have scheduled a public hearing for Farmington Valley residents.
On Tuesday January 22, 2013, residents with questions or concerns about the proposed Metropolitan District Commission water diversion project can attend a public hearing at 7 p.m. in the Human Resources Training Room at the UConn Health Center’s Munson Building, 16 Munson Road, Farmington.
The MDC proposal estimates that a new 20-mile pipeline could divert as much as 1.93 million gallons from the Farmington River basin each day.
Farmington Valley officials have expressed concern that the diversion would set a dangerous precedent for interbasin transfers, cause long-term water shortage issues in the Farmington Valley, and ultimately not solve the overarching issue.
“Securing additional sources of supply to meet these planned growth needs and maintaining an adequate margin of safety is essential to properly operating and managing a public water supply system,” said Thomas Callahan, UConn associate vice president.
Officials are also concerned about the process UConn has taken to determine the best options and said the process lacks transparency.
UConn responded to the concerns by first extending the public comment deadline to Jan. 4. Later the deadline was extended until Jan. 31 to "ensure that interested individuals and groups have an opportunity to share their thoughts for UConn’s Environmental Impact Evaluation," a statement said.
UConn officials say that the school's water usage is less than it was ten years ago, a fact "attributable to concerted conservation efforts and reclamation initiatives," the statement said.
Prior to the public hearing on Jan. 22, UConn officials encourage residents to review the project EIE online at: http://www.envpolicy.uconn.edu/eie.html