Polk hears more opposition from Henderson Co. on water plan

Published 5:01 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Zirconia resident Debra Stephens reviewed information she researched on the Internet, including information from Polk County&squo;s draft 20/20 vision plan and from Spartanburg, Inman-Campobello and Blue Ridge Water Districts. Stephens said Polk County&squo;s population is declining and Henderson County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state. She questioned where Polk would get water customers and inferred that since Spartanburg and Inman-Campobello are seeking to expand that Polk would be selling water to South Carolina.

&dquo;I believe it&squo;s a theft of a natural resource,&dquo; Stephens said.

Stephens said she&squo;d be glad for the Green River area to be a watershed for Henderson County, &dquo;I do not believe in giving up those rights for another county.&dquo;

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But Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson, who attended Henderson County&squo;s meeting, said that Polk County has great respect for its Henderson County neighbors.

&dquo;I think it will be much better for all of us for Polk County to have Lake Adger than someone to our south or east,&dquo; Whitson said.

Whitson also said that it was not Polk County&squo;s choice to seek a class III watershed, which affects much of Henderson County. Polk County requested a class IV, which would have only affected Polk County land, but the state urged the county to seek a class III instead.

Henderson County residents have also said that by agreeing to a class III and allowing Polk to pull water out of the Green River, the state would not allow Henderson County in the future to pull water out of Lake Summit.

But Whitson says it would be up to the state whether or not Henderson County could use Lake Summit and he does not feel that Polk County pulling 2 million gallons per day would have any effect on Henderson County pulling water out of Lake Summit in the future. Polk&squo;s requested 2 million gallons a day would equate to less than one-quarter of an inch of water on Lake Adger, Whitson said.

It is not clear yet when the Henderson County Board of Commissioners will make a decision on whether or not to support Polk&squo;s request for a class III watershed. Henderson County is also considering a request from Saluda to purchase the Tuxedo water system since it lies in Henderson County. Henderson commissioners are scheduled to set a public hearing for Saluda&squo;s request today at a regular 5:30 p.m. meeting at the courthouse.