In the Flow: A Water Plan for Connecticut
How should Connecticut both protect its water resources and promote economic growth? For the past several weeks, CBIA has been participating in a key statewide effort to make sure that Connecticut always has adequate supplies of high quality water.
Following a State Water Summit last fall spearheaded by Rep. John Hampton (D-Simsbury), three subcommittees have been discussing a potential comprehensive water resources plan for the state. CBIA is participating on the Summit’s Water Supply and Distribution Subcommittee. Other subcommittees are focused on Water Quality, Protection and Conservation, and Water Administration, Infrastructures, and Oversight.
All are in the process of preparing final reports with findings ultimately to be shared with the entire group and potentially result in legislative proposals. While no final decisions have yet been made, the overwhelming consensus so far is that the state needs to have and implement a state water resources plan.
There is widespread agreement that a comprehensive plan should address protecting water sources, upgrading underground pipes, improving wastewater treatment systems, cleaning rivers and other water bodies, supporting Connecticut’s manufacturing, energy production industries, agriculture, tourism, fishing, and continuing to remediate Brownfields to avoid significant groundwater contamination.
Businesses, municipalities and utilities wary of more regulations should be encouraged that the subcommittees have acknowledged that water is already highly regulated in Connecticut—by four state agencies.
The Department of Public Health (DPH) has the country’s highest drinking water standards; the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) regulates groundwaters, rivers, streams, dams, aquifers, stormwater discharges, and streamflow, along with water diversion and discharge permits; the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) sets water rates; and the Office of Policy & Management coordinates the finances of the state’s water programs.
State Rep. Mary Mushinsky (D-Wallingford) commented that a less fragmented approach would help the long-term management of the state’s water resources. So, what the study groups are likely to aim for is giving those water standards a more unified vision and purpose.
The subcommittees include a wide range of participants, including several state legislators, water scientists from UCONN, engineers, municipal leaders, regulatory officials from DPH, DEEP, PURA, and OPM, various trade associations, and individuals interested in water conservation, water infrastructure, agriculture, and economic development.
For more information, contact Faith Gavin Kuhn at email@example.com.
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