Wednesday, December 19, 2007

water=kaching kaching!

Let the city have lake water
Published: Friday, December 14, 2007
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Now the members of the Saratoga Lake Association, having gotten pummeled in court, are going to drag out for another round their selfish quest to keep anyone from sharing their water.Saratoga Lake is big enough and clean enough to take care of the water needs of Saratoga Springs with ease. Expert studies have shown that.But heaven forbid, the lakesiders are saying, that anyone sip from "their" water.It's better, they say, for workers to rip a ditch down the length of the county, right through Moreau State Park, and toss a pipe in it.
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The lakesiders like to act as if the county pipe plan, which would draw water out of the Hudson River, is a fait accompli.Work has started on the pipeline, but with all the problems besetting the project -- a shortage of paying customers being, perhaps, the biggest -- the pipe plan may yet prove to be a pipe dream.Even if the county manages to get its pipe into the ground, Saratoga Springs doesn't have to tap into it.The city is lucky enough to have an ample supply of water just waiting to be tapped.Other communities draw water out of big lakes like Saratoga Lake.And other communities allow recreation on the lakes from which they draw water.
You don't have to look far for examples. The village of Lake Placid has drawn all its water from Lake Placid for more than a century.Lake Placid holds a volume of water similar to Saratoga Lake's and, although Lake Placid is smaller than Saratoga Springs, it attracts tourists by the hundreds of thousands, not just in summer but in every season.Lake Placid has never had a problem with its water supply.And recreation on Lake Placid, where hundreds of motorboats cruise in the summertime, has never been restricted.And the Saratoga Lake homeowners have never drawn a convincing distinction between Saratoga Lake and Lake Placid.
If the environment were their concern, they would have rallied against cutting a trench many miles long through the county's forests and fields.If water quality were their concern, they'd have welcomed a city tap, because drinking water must be monitored and kept to a high standard.Their concern is keeping the lake to themselves, and it always has been.Unfortunately, their selfishness has found powerful allies among the county's Republican supervisors, who themselves have a shameful record when it comes to public works.In the late 1990s, the county's Republican supervisors rammed through a plan to build a $10 million landfill in Northumberland that local farmers and many other people told them was unnecessary. That landfill has never been used.
Let me repeat that: $10 million.Never been used.The water pipe could turn into a similar boondoggle. But even if water eventually flows through this pipe, it's better for the city to have its own.Will Doolittle is projects editor of The Post-Star. He may be reached at
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