In the letter (below) to UConn Office of Environmental Policy, the Board of Directors of the Farmington Land Trust voice concerns regarding the Environmental Impact of the MDC Water Diversion Proposal.
January 30, 2013
Mr. Jason M. Coite, University of Connecticut - Office of Environmental Policy, 31 LeDoyt Road, U3055, Storrs, CT 06269-3055
Re: Environmental Impact Evaluation for University of Connecticut Additional Source(s) of Water Supply, November 2012
Dear Mr. Coite:
The Farmington Land Trust is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1971 with the goal of protecting Farmington’s open space. For more than 40 years the Land Trust has acquired land, promoted wildlife habitat and restoration of biological diversity, educated the community regarding the importance of open space, and advocated at the state and local levels for the long-term protection of Farmington’s natural resources. We believe that the proposed interconnection with the Metropolitan District Commission to supply water to UConn, Mansfield and the surrounding towns from the Farmington River watershed is inconsistent with our mission and goals, and therefore we oppose this alternative.
Although the purview of the Land Trust is limited to the Town of Farmington, we recognize that anything done within the Farmington River watershed or state-wide may have local impacts. The complexity of the relationships between water resources and the long-term stability in the diversity of plants and animals makes analyzing these impacts difficult, both because of the inherent limitations in the knowledge that we have regarding the watershed’s characteristics, and the difficulty of predicting how the UConn proposal (or really any proposal of such breadth) will affect the watershed. We therefore believe that there is a significant chance the interconnection with MDC could have adverse impacts that are beyond the ones set forth in the EIE, and which cannot be mitigated.
We are also concerned that the proposed interconnection with MDC will result in future unsustainable growth. We understand and appreciate the value of UConn to the economy, to provide educational opportunities to our youth, and to the quality of life in the State of Connecticut in general, and agree that an adequate supply of water to meet the needs of the campus is important. However, the overall proposal is not one that seeks to simply provide a margin of safety to mitigate droughts and the limitations of UConn’s existing water supply. This proposal seeks to use the resources of one part of the State to fuel growth to another part of the State, at the expense of the Farmington River. In doing so, it will inevitably lead to future competition and tension between two areas of the State as the resource dwindles, to the detriment of everyone.
We urge you to eliminate the potential interconnection with MDC as one of the alternatives under consideration to meet the future water needs of UConn and surrounding areas.
Very Truly Yours,
THE FARMINGTON LAND TRUST, INC.
The Canal House, 128 Garden Street, Farmington CT 06032