Barrington Town Councilor wants to explore BCWA alternatives
Barrington Town Councilor Ann Strong wants to explore alternatives to the Bristol County Water Authority.
Ms. Strong, who addressed the topic at a town council meeting last week, said the authority has evolved over the years from a water producer to a water distributor and accordingly, it might be a good time to re-visit how the agency operates.
Bristol County water currently comes from the Scituate Reservoir through Providence. The BCWA maintains a water treatment plant on Child Street one day a month in case there was a need to access water from Massachusetts though a study is underway exploring the possibility of moving the agency’s redundant source to Pawtucket through East Providence.
“They’re just a middle man,” Ms. Strong said.
Ms. Strong suggested the creation of an exploratory committee with members from Bristol, Warren and Barrington to look at everything from operational issues to economics, water delivery and customers. She said it won’t be a quick or easy process but it’s one that should be taken on.
“I just don’t think the BCWA works in its current form,” Ms. Strong said.
“Surely there’s a better way to do it than what’s being done.”
Town council president June Speakman said Ms. Strong’s questions are worth asking. Town councilor Kate Weymouth, however, said the three towns voted in support of owning the BCWA. She asked Ms. Strong for specifics on her proposal.
Ms. Strong said she would like to explore the details with Bristol and Warren representatives.
Town solicitor Michael Ursillo said it might make sense to reach out to these communities for input before establishing a committee. He said this would foster a collaborative effort.
Mr. Ursillo also said any changes to the BCWA would ultimately require legislative approval.
Town councilor William DeWitt suggested broadening the scope of such a group. The last tri-town council meeting ended with a brief discussion on possible areas where the three towns can work together.
Ms. Speakman cautioned the evening’s agenda was focused on BCWA issues and pursuing Mr. DeWitt’s proposal at the time might stray too far from the agenda.
In the end, the town council unanimously supported approaching other communities to gauge any interest in a potential group charged with examining areas of mutual concern regarding the BCWA.