Do we need a county water system?

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

To the editor:

Does Polk County really need a water system?  All of this hoopla over our county commission giving away our water rights to ICWD in South Carolina is a valid reason for concern, but the real question is do we really need a county water system? Let’s think about the facts.

To date our county has spent over $7.5 million on water lines which serve all of our schools and fire departments. Only 140 residents are served by these lines. That’s a cost of about $55,000 per resident, and you can bet that those residents are not going to pay that tab — all of us are.

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Even if these lines are expanded by ICWD, the Local Government Commission (LGC) in Raleigh estimated that there would be only about 1,000 voluntary subscribers unless use of the public water becomes mandatory, a real possibility.

The draft contract as currently written (by ICWD) would also provide ICWD with the right of eminent domain. This would allow ICWD to install lines anywhere it is most economically feasible, including across your private property if deemed in the best interests of all concerned. In other words, with eminent domain, you will have absolutely no voice. If you disliked zoning you would really hate eminent domain.

Think about it. Most of us have pretty good wells which have enabled us to maintain the rural character of our county as was envisioned in the Vision 20/20 plan. Sure, we have had some droughts, but most of us have gotten through those with sensible conservation efforts.

Additionally, we aren’t being overdeveloped as would be the case with public water. To go further down this road, we would have to give up our water rights for up to 50 years to ICWD, an entity in South Carolina. ICWD would then sell our water back to us, and also to many in upstate South Carolina. This is a good deal for ICWD, and a bad deal for Polk County.

So, do we really need a county water system?

David Maxwell