Lawmakers want policy on how to manage water - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers want policy on how to manage water

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Water officials held meetings to address concerns over bottling facility (WFSB) Water officials held meetings to address concerns over bottling facility (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The battle over water continues in Bloomfield.

MDC, a regional water company, held meetings on Wednesday to address concerns over a bottling plant and plans to take millions of gallons on water from area reservoirs.

The focus of the meeting was the current water supply and what would happen if there was a drought.

The MDC said if there was a drought they would not tell customers they had to cut back on drinking water or bathing water, and that customers would have priority.

Some people are not happy with how a deal came about, and the fact that Niagara, a private company, will be making a profit off public drinking water.

"They are taking a huge amount of public water, they are getting a discount rate which is the exact opposite of what we want to do to promote water conservation,” said Val Rosetti, of Bloomfield.

The MDC said large users get a discount, as long as they meet the threshold of 500,000 gallons per day.

People in town are also concerned there is no contract, that Niagara will be able to take water indefinitely.

MDC said “We don't need to have a contract. As long as we have water and capacity, we are required to provide it.”

There are other issues as well.

"One of the biggest problems is that there appeared to be a lack of transparency,” said Bloomfield State Rep. David Baram.

He said many elected officials didn’t know the applicant for town zoning permits was Niagara, and feels the public was not aware until the deal was sealed.

The MDC said it will get about $2 million per year from Niagara, in exchange Niagara will get nearly 2 million gallons of water a day from MDC’s reservoir system.

Construction has already started on a bottling plant. The project will create about 120 jobs, and the town will also get property taxes.

To get Niagara to locate to Bloomfield, the town dished out tax incentives.

A state bill that would have limited water taken and require state regulation failed this year.

"For the Niagara situation, it's probably a done deal --they have already started construction, have required permits, but the larger issue is the state-wide water policy,” Baram said.

Lawmakers said they would like to see a state water policy on how to manage water.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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