The Connecticut Water Company has been selected by the University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees to provide water to the Storrs campus and neighboring Mansfield.
The UConn board finalized the decision at its meeting Wednesday after months of public input on three competing proposals.
It’s welcome news to Farmington Valley residents and officials who loudly criticized a plan from the Metropolitan District Commission to supply the water by diverting millions of gallons out of the Farmington River watershed.
"In short, I’m thrilled that the MDC option did not win out," said Farmington Town Council Chairman Jeffrey Hogan. "...The substantial inter-basin water transfer proposed under the MDC option would have jeopardized the future health of the Farmington River. Residents, businesses and towns rely upon the river for both economic and recreational purposes."
In addition, Hogan said two concerning issues arose out of the matter - the MDC's methods of pushing its proposal and the state's planning process.
"I was particularly disturbed by the way that the MDC went about pushing its agenda and believe that they advocated for their solution without regard for the potential adverse effects on the originating resource."
As for the state, "The state further has an obligation to create an intelligent state wide plan and policy for water distribution and allocation that doesn’t simply react to the initiatives of powerful interests like the MDC."
Canton First Selectman Richard Barlow said he feels public input made a difference.
“On the engineering and economic merits, clearly the MDC option did not appear to be the best choice,” he said. “However, the MDC was aggressively pushing their option. I think the public input certainly countered their position and was very effective.”
In addition to the public outcry against the MDC plan, the Connecticut Water proposal was found to be the least expensive, fastest to implement and in line with the state’s Plan of Conservation and Development. The company also volunteered to build the infrastructure at no cost to the state in light of the potential for growth.