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Tempers Flare in Passionate Water Supply Debate

Rockland County, April 22 — Advocates and opponents of United Water New York’s proposed desalination plant have made passionate arguments for their respective cases — which at times have become heated.

The NY affiliate of the international water supply company, Suez Environment wants to build a new desalination plant to meet Rockland’s future water needs. “While Rockland’s conservation efforts have been impressive, the wise use of water alone will not provide us with enough going forward,” says United Water New York’s Michael J. Pointing. Opponents say UNWY’s case is built on tainted data, uses brackish water which the state doesn’t consider to be potable, will drive up water bills and use excessive energy. “It would set an irreversible precedent for this unsustainable, energy intensive technology in New York State and beyond that would include escalating water rates, increased regional energy usage, and immeasurable damage to the immediate community and surrounding environment,” counters Eric Weltman of Food & Water Watch.

The differences have sparked heated remarks on social media. Responding to a satirical cartoon on the Haverstraw plant published in February, a Haverstraw resident tweeted “Shame on [you] , a total insult to the entire North Rockland area. Another great reason 2 hate liberals.” When prompted as to the reason why they supported the plant, they responded “Property values in Haverstraw have zero to do with the desal plant, we have enough problems here leave us alone. Drought proof, end of story. I’ll pay more for that security. Don’t tell me what to think either.”

Follow these links to read op-ed articles by both United Water New York and Food & Water Watch on the Haverstraw Water Supply Project.

Photo: Full Moon Rising Over Haverstraw Bay Credit: ©2012  George Potanovic, Jr.

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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