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Rivers Alliance of CT Priority Topics

Priority Topics

State Water Planning - Archives

2013
UConn Rejects MDC Proposal;  Selects CT Water Co.;  Future Water Needs Unclear


Back to State Water Planning                                                                 Back to Priority Topics                                                                                                             

2013

UConn Rejects MDC Proposal;  Selects CT Water Co.;  Future Water Needs Unclear

The proposed diversion of 2 million gallons of water per day from the Farmington River watershed to the UConn campus in Storrs appears to have been finally nixed. UConn has selected the Connecticut Water Company, which currently manages the UConn water system, to supply the needed (or at least much wanted) water.

The Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), the very large Hartford-region utility, had fought hard to win this contract. MDC was prepared to build a 20-mile, $51-million pipeline from East Hartford to Storrs (a part of Mansfield). The source water would have come from MDC’s reservoirs in the east branch of the Farmington River. Two streams below these reservoirs are famously dry. Moreover, the diversion would have indirectly put the beautiful west branch of the river at increased risk of impairment.

The MDC diversion was prominently and energetically opposed by Farmington valley towns, fishing groups, river groups, local legislators, environmental groups, and by many of you! Congratulations!

But do not yet relax with your laurels. The MDC-UConn controversy illuminated basic problems with the way water is allocated and managed in the state. There is no firm structure for decision making, no involvement of environmental groups, no integrated management. Tough decisions are improvised in response to the needs of the moment. The result is wasted time, energy, money, and water. The problem is not just in the UConn region but across the state.  Only last month, angry voters in Bethel rejected a complex, flawed plan to sell its water utility to Aquarion, a large private water company.   

In 2013, you will be hearing a number of proposals from different sectors to reform and rationalize water planning. You may already be involved with some of these ideas. Excellent. Please come forward. Every voice will be needed.

Archived comments on the proposal can be found here.