Who’s failing to understand?

Published 10:54 pm Wednesday, September 23, 2015

To the editor:

Commissioner Tom Pack is quoted in the Sept 11, 2015 Tryon Daily Bulletin story, Fundraiser against Polk water contract draws 300, saying, “What people fail to understand is there are 166 million gallons of water running over the dam every day at Lake Adger.” He argues that the contract specifically states if Polk were to ever want to start its own water system by withdrawing from Lake Adger, the county is free to do so with the excess water.

What ‘excess water’ is he talking about? Is Commissioner Pack failing to recognize and understand that there is a set cap of 8 Million/Gallons/Day(MGD) raw water withdrawals from Lake Adger, according to the Duke Regulations/Restrictions that are in full effect and run with the deed/title held now by Polk County? Those (Polk) rights to withdraw the capped max of 8MGD from Lake Adger are specifically assigned/transferred to ICWD in the water contract for period of 75 years (Article VIII, Section 8.01) in exchange for Turner Shoals Dam repairs. So if ICWD is withdrawing that entire amount allowed – 8MGD – (for its established big industry customers down in South Carolina), how would Polk be free to withdraw any more from Lake Adger to start up its own water system?

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Pack speaks as if the county will not be encumbered with this Duke regulation of raw water withdrawals; that the county is free to take any ‘excess waters’ it desires from the lake. Has Duke privately agreed with Polk BOC, ICWD and Northbrook Hydro to waive this withdrawal cap so everybody gets what they want (including deluding the public)?

Duke created these operating regulations for the lake and the dam in their deeds long ago so perhaps they can take them away just as well. Is this why the Duke regulations are not referred to in the water contract because they are to about to be changed by Duke Energy?

Water for everyone: Polk if it needs it, ICWD to sell it to their growing Spartanburg based industry customers, Northbrook to generate their hydro-electricity and Duke to fulfill its Modernization Plan by supplying enough water necessary to awaken their sleeping incomplete, William States Lee III Nuclear Plant, poised to add power to the grid via the next-door transmission substation in Campobello, S.C. – home to the ICWD/Polk water contract.

Is this what the public is failing to understand about the pending water agreement between Polk and ICWD? Is this the origin of our BOC staunch refusal to obtain any outside/independent expert help because it might interfere with this secret big deal? Is this why our BOC remains consistently unconcerned about their negligent dam safety repair obligations, their competing water supply agreements between Northbrook and ICWD?

Of course, Polk County citizens who have been left floundering in the dark, ‘fail to understand’ all that we don’t know … but what Commissioner Chair Tom Pack ‘fails to understand’ is that he has just shed some light into how and why the majority is participating in the plundering away of Polk’s most precious resource – our water.

Schuyler Conard
Lake Adger, N.C.