Blogs > The Watchdog > A major victory: You spoke–they listened!

A major victory: You spoke–they listened!

PSC Sends Rockland Desalination Plant Back to Drawing Board

I want to tell you about a victory that should inspire all of us.

A dedicated band of Rockland County residents never accepted that a Public Service Commission directive to explore ways to supply drinking water in years to come meant that the multinational United Water had to saddle the public with the high costs of a wasteful desalination plant to treat Hudson River water.

So they formed the Rockland Water Coalition, studied the issue and lined up their facts—about the high consumer and environmental costs of the proposal, and the viable alternatives that were being ignored.

  • They called out United Water New York for sending water from Rockland’s reservoir across the border—where it was used by a sister company, United Water New Jersey.
  • They called out the PSC for relying on a 2009 study of water availability, when a 2011 study was available.
  • They called for a smart water conservation plan.

They found allies—including Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson and a who’s who of elected officials.

They spoke out—again, and again and again, for nearly two years.

Yesterday, they won. We all won.

The PSC announced that it will examine the underlying need for a desalination plant that would have drawn up to 10 million gallons of water from Haverstraw Bay, one of the most extraordinary and biologically diverse sections of the Hudson River.

Does Rockland County really need this additional supply of drinking water? Is this the best way to provide additional water? These are the basic, fundamental questions the PSC has pledged to reconsider.

The fight isn’t over. The PSC has only given United Water 30 days to study the issue of need and the company’s latest comments show they’re not ready to budge on this key issue. It will be up to Riverkeeper, Rockland Water Coalition and Scenic Hudson to fight any attempt to paper over the real problems with the Rockland desalination proposal.

But today we can thank a dedicated group of citizens for taking control of their future. Thank you.

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