Editorial: Save the dam, save Bristol County's water supply

Posted 9/19/19

At the risk of sounding redundant, we once again implore the Bristol County Water Authority to stop dismantling a freshwater supply that served this region for more than a century. They won’t …

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Editorial: Save the dam, save Bristol County's water supply

Posted

At the risk of sounding redundant, we once again implore the Bristol County Water Authority to stop dismantling a freshwater supply that served this region for more than a century. They won’t listen, of course.

We’ve made the argument in this space numerous times, and in person as well. They disagree. They say the old water supply is too costly to maintain and serves little purpose now that we’ve got enormous pipes bringing water from other regions. We disagree.

We believe that in a region surrounded by salt water on three sides and pushing closer to 100 percent build-out with every passing year, any freshwater source is too rare to abandon. Yet they are abandoning the old Kickemuit Reservoir and the system of dams, spillways and culverts that channeled and controlled the water for more than a century.

The latest chapter is an estimated $1.6 million project to take down a large dam along Schoolhouse Road in Warren. The dam is part of the system that brings water from ponds in Rehoboth and Swansea into the reservoir along Child Street.

The water authority could repair the dam for $1.5 million, or dismantle it for $1.6 million. The current plan is to take it down and be done with it once and for all.

When it happens, it will be another step toward the final, irrevocable loss of a freshwater supply for some 50,000 people.

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.