Water on the brain | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Water on the brain

Posted By on Sun, Jan 14, 2007 at 4:33 PM

I got a rain gauge for my wife for Christmas. Before you laugh, it beats the funnel I gave her one Valentine's Day long ago. (And a first-class iron one Christmas.) It's recorded six inches since the deluge began and it's still raining.

In honor of all that fresh, clean water, I'm going to put on the jump the full text of a good letter from Kathy Wells, vice president of the Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods, to Tony Kendall, chair of the Central Arkansas Water board, reiterating the coalition's opposition to a Lake Maumelle watershed management plan that allows develop on acreage in critical zone A, nearest the water intake. Developers are chomping at the bit to get that land opened up, along with hundreds more acres bought long after the lake was built as a water supply. The state's record of enforcing clean water rules is no endorsement, nor is the record of some of those interested in development in the watershed.

COALITION OF LITTLE ROCK NEIGHBORHOODS LETTER TO TONY KENDALL

As you and the other Board members consider proposals to allow development
in Critical Area A, please keep in mind the community in which such
development would occur - and the activities of the developers, Deltic
Timber Company and Rick Ferguson of Waterview Estates.

We began to create a management plan for the watershed of our drinking-water
supply by putting our emphasis on Science as our guide.

We all learned that decisions must rest on Politics, since the Science comes
with a price tag, and anything built comes with obligations for maintenance,
and with a risk of human error. Technical advisors to the process declined
to give assurances that development could occur, within certain
restrictions, because of these known hazards. Nothing in our world is
certain and this experience affirms that truth. That leaves leaders facing
considerations of Costs and Benefits and Risk.

The Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods wants our drinking water to be as
free of risk as possible. We do not support development in Area A, because
no one can guarantee that any restrictions would be upheld in the following
decades after construction began. Let’s look at the current situation.

Protection of water quality rests with the Arkansas Department of
Environmental Quality, and their Pulaski County violations record runs 27
pages, including their Waterview Estate citation. Copies are enclosed.
Regulators issued small fines, and took months to resolve the case. Looking
at a citation list that includes cities, sewer systems, subdivisions, major
contractors who have operated for decades, such as CDI, and the Wrightsville
state prison complex, leads to the conclusion that lots of people build, but
don’t heed water-protection rules today, and when they are caught, little
happens to them. Deltic’s sawmill at Ola was cited twice, and its Waldo mill
once.

Other developers are promoting Area A development and linking these to their
own proposals. Enclosed is a copy of the Canterbury Park Estates map in the
watershed, which highlights Waterview Estates, the Alotian Golf Club and
Chenal Valley homes from Deltic. This pattern is troubling. Please guard
our water despite the pressures for profit from those who bought land on the
lake long after it was created.

Kathy Wells

Vice president

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