Per today's OD Editorial: Our View: Summit is needed to discuss Hinckley's future
Absolutely! A "summit" is needed!
Among "players" seemingly left out of discussions thus far and who should be invited to the "summit" are the many with actual legal rights to the water.
At common law landowners along the West Canada Creek below the Hinckley dam, such as Brookfield Power, are entitled to the Full Natural Flow of that Creek subject only to the State's superior right to divert water for navigation purposes. Diversions for other purposes, such as MVWA's use as a drinking water supply, are NOT protected at common law and potentially expose the State to liabilities for damages unless the water removed is replaced with "excess" water taken out of storage.
To that end, prior to 2012, the MVWA was required to hold approximately 120 days of its water use in a storage reservoir upstream of Hinckley, and to use that water during drier weather to replace the water MVWA removed from Hinckley. In 2012 the State excused MVWA from this requirement.
To maintain uses of the West Canada Creek below the dam, Hinckley must now perform the function of MVWA's storage reservoir in addition to its usual function of feeding the Canal. This "double duty" increases the likelihood that water levels on Hinckley Lake will be lower during drier weather than if Hinckley were just used to feel the canal.
The situation for lake recreation will worsen as MVWA draws increasing amounts of water to serve the nanotech industry, and to serve western portions of Oneida County.
If current uses of West Canada Creek water are to be maintained and new ones added, the only solution appears to be an engineering one: a new storage reservoir upstream of Hinckley capable of holding 120 days of MVWA's water useage.
Given the terms of its 2012 agreement with MVWA, the State would seem to be responsible for this