Editorial: A 'quenching' decision

Posted 5/9/19

On a variety of fronts, the mayor and the council made the right decision recently by accepting the proposal of the Bristol County Water Authority, which represents the interests of neighboring East …

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Editorial: A 'quenching' decision

Posted

On a variety of fronts, the mayor and the council made the right decision recently by accepting the proposal of the Bristol County Water Authority, which represents the interests of neighboring East Bay towns Barrington, Warren and Bristol, to install a new emergency back-up connection between the water systems of each. It is a necessity for both and the leak situation the BCWA is incurring at the moment only highlights that fact.

Water is the most basic commodity in our daily lives, in our existence, really. Access to potable water, whether it be locally, nationally or globally, has been a subject of great interest for quite some time now and will only grow in its importance as the world’s population increases and we face up to the realities of climate change.

Whether or not you believe the science, which has the overwhelming support of that community and most rational thinkers among us, no one will argue that having the ability to drink and bathe in clean water is of the utmost importance.

On a far lesser scale, the new connection between the East Providence and BCWA systems affords both a secondary source of water under extreme circumstances, which the latter is currently facing. Though it will cause a bit of consternation for some residents during construction, one of the reasons why this is a no-brainer for the city is that the BCWA has offered to pay the overwhelming majority of the cost.

Another reason why this move makes sense is that it will hopefully spur further and needed conversations about how we get our water here and there.

This isn’t the first dalliance the city has had with the idea of finding another means of getting its water. A few years back the state approached East Providence and the BCWA with a pretty sweet deal to tap into Diamond Hill Reservoir via a link with Pawtucket. But even the dispelled notion of the poor quality of water in Pawtucket, which like here has spent tens of millions in recent years to upgrade its system, wasn’t palatable to our politicos at the time.

Though that offer is apparently off the table, it shouldn’t mean it is not longer a consideration. It’s actually part of the BCWA’s broader proposal on the matter and is one worthy of more thoughtful deliberation by the administration and the council sooner rather than later.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.