If state legislation gave control of the reservoir's water to the authority, plans for the next 50 years would include enough water to meet Herkimer County's needs, authority Executive Director Patrick Becher and engineers told legislators Wednesday, Becher said.
"All of our long-range plans include that entire area," he said.
Of course MVWA's plans include Herkimer County. Nothing would satisfy MVWA and its leadership more than to make customers of even more Herkimer County residents.
But maybe Herkimer County residents don't want MVWA to be their supplier. Why should they have to deal with MVWA to get their own Herkimer County water, whether it's now, 50 years from now, or later?
No matter what "riparian rights" MVWA may claim, those rights do not include taking water out of the watercourse and sending it elsewhere. To do such a thing requires the State's permission. That is because the water in the West Canada Creek, and Hinckley Reservoir, is the State's resource, not the MVWA's. It is for the State to decide (currently the DEC) whether a water resource, located in Herkimer County, should be used to satisfy needs elsewhere such as in western Oneida County. The State's decision making, meanwhile, is governed by a body of case law on how that decision should be made, including Syracuse v Gibbs, 283 NY 275 (1940) which obliges the State to ensure that water supplies which are more available for use by one community are not absorbed by another. [BTW, western Oneida County is already supplied water from Lake Ontario, so it does not need Herkimer County water. But if Herkimer County cannot get all that it needs from Hinckley Reservoir, there are few alternatives.]
Mrs. Destito's legislation would sweep all the State protections away, and , essentially, give the MVWA sovereignty over 48.5 MGD of water. This is unprecedented.
Herkimer County Legislator Bono wants a written guarantee on the percentage of water Herkimer County would get.
"I want a binding agreement," Bono saidWhile Legislator Bono is well intended, Herkimer County cannot afford to be naive. It was MVWA's breaking of an old agreement that has brought this entire issue to the forefront. Written agreements mean nothing to the MVWA . . . and no one should allow themselves to be blindsided by Mr. Becher's soothing presentations. There is a history of undependability there, and history has a habit of repeating itself.
Mrs. Destito's legislation needs to be killed ... now!