By Deb Nardone, Executive Director, and Andy Warner, Board President:
At a time when our community continues to prosper and grow, there’s an intensifying need to value, plan for and manage our water. A clean, reliable water supply is the life-blood of our community, providing for our families in our homes, sustaining our environment and outdoor recreation, and supporting a vibrant regional economy.
These discussions require time, science, and transparency…
When our community leaders consider new proposals such as the Nestle project recently proposed to be located in Spring/Benner Townships, the highest possible standard must be set to protect the integrity of our water supply, now and in the future. Thoroughly weighing benefits and risks of increasing demands on our water supply takes time, good science, and transparency in the decision-making process.
ClearWater Conservancy is driven by our core values – to focus on the future, act with integrity, and apply sound science to the responsible management of our natural resources. Based on our values, we believe the concept of an industry dependent on continuous extraction and export of our region’s groundwater raises questions and concerns that have not yet been adequately addressed.
A water budget is a good first step…
While our region’s groundwater system recharges over time, there are many factors that impact the rate of recharge and the amount of water available. Drought, commercial and industrial demands, population growth, and climate change all impact the reliability of our water supply.
ClearWater supports proactive, responsible management of our water supply, and believes our growing region would benefit from an Integrated Water Resources Management Plan. Such a plan would include a water budget that would clearly quantify the amount of available water and assess current and potential future water uses, without compromising our community or economy. This type of tool must be developed before sound, science-based decisions can be made regarding potential mass mining of water.
More opportunities for community feedback…
Additionally, ClearWater Conservancy understands that proactive source water protection and land conservation efforts are valued by our community. Our community should have input into future demands on our water supply, which observes no municipal boundaries. We would ask Spring Township and the Township Water Authority to convene town hall meetings to seek input from its residents – and all those who rely on adequate ground water for drinking water in this region – to discuss the proposal and solicit community feedback.
Lastly, Nestle and all decision makers involved have a responsibility to provide our community with both short and long-term plans for water extraction. For Nestle, this means being transparent through public forums about current and future intent regarding water withdrawals. Likewise, separate water rules and rates for commercial consumptive use should be determined, because water that is permanently exported from the region is not recycled back into our local water supply.
We expect community leaders will address the questions and needs we’ve identified above, beginning with the facilitation of constructive community conversations about our water and its use before any key decisions are made about consumptive water withdrawals for Nestle.
Please share your thoughts with us.
Please share your feedback regarding the proposed water bottling facility via email to ClearWater Conservancy’s executive director, Deb Nardone: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will share your thoughts with partnering organizations and decision-makers, unless requested not to.
As always, we will keep you up to date on ClearWater’s efforts to proactively protect our region’s local natural resources for all future generations through land conservation, water resources stewardship, and environmental outreach across Central Pennsylvania.
Deb Nardone and Andy Warner,
Executive Director and Board President,