To the editor,
Once again, Colonie’s current administration is moving toward selling Colonie’s Stony Creek Reservoir. In the 1950s, the Latham Water District purchased, constructed, and fought in court to create this drinking water source for our town when development threatened to outstrip our water supply. In 2009, the Mahan administration offered it for sale for about $9 million, reserving the right for Colonie to use the water. Now they are trying again, with a minimum price of only $5 million, without reserving the water rights for Colonie.
Although it seems counter-intuitive to sell off a water resource in a time of global climate change and epic developmental pressure, it may be the right thing to do. However, we residents have not been provided with enough of the right data/facts/information to decide. Although the offering document says the water is “clear” and a 2015 state Department of Environmental Conservation analysis says the water is “potable,” this administration says the reservoir is no longer a viable water source. We have received little information about what is wrong with the reservoir as water source. Taxes and upkeep of $200,000 annually does not seem like a good reason to sell.
Apparently Colonie derives most of its drinking water from the Mohawk River, directly and indirectly, via wells near the river. The River is downstream from Knolls Atomic Labs and several cities, and fluctuates seasonally. The water is treated to make it potable.
The administration recently entered into an Interconnect Agreement with the City of Albany for emergency water that it claims will meet all our needs. However, utilizing Albany’s water will cost more than $50,000 per day, will not cover the town’s daily needs, and can be cancelled by Albany at any time. The town has already paid over $3 million for the Interconnect Agreement’s infrastructure. Yet, we already own and are permitted to draw 100,000 gallons per day of Stony Creek Reservoir water.
Again, we do not know enough to determine whether selling the reservoir and relying upon Albany’s water, if necessary, would be beneficial to our town. The bids are due in March, so we hope the administration comes forth with facts and data.
We have posted some documents concerning Stony Creek on our website (savecolonie.com/stony-creek-reservoir-sale) to help us all understand these issues. But there is more we need to know, and only the administration can tell us. Let’s ask them to do so.
What do you think, and if you’d like to help us figure this out, be in touch.
SAVE Colonie: A Partnership for Planning