News Feature | December 21, 2016

Connecticut Seeks To Crack Down On Exports To Bottled Water Company

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

connecticut reg new

In an effort that is opposed by water companies, Connecticut regulators are trying to restrict water exports in the drought-plagued state.

“There has been a long-running debate over whether there should be additional state controls over public water supplies, with water companies lobbying against new regulations and activists insisting consumers need more protections,” the Hartford Courant reported.

“This argument has been intensified by the current drought and controversy surrounding an agreement by the Metropolitan District to sell to up to 1.8 million gallons of water per day to Niagara Bottling,” the report said.

The entirety of Connecticut is experiencing at least moderate drought, with nearly half the state in severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has proposed a new rule to require state approval before a water company can sell 50,000 gallons of water out of its service area on a daily basis, the Hartford Courant reported.

The state describes its proposal like this: “The regulatory change sought by [the department] would limit use of water withdrawn from a registered diversion to the geographic area covered by a water company’s service area as it existed as of October 1, 2016. The change would require a permit — and the accompanying environmental review — to move water from a registered source to areas beyond an existing or planned service area as of October, 1.”

The Connecticut Water Works Association opposes the potential rules. "We're concerned [the regulations] may have a negative impact on the availability of water supplies in some areas … and may impose additional costs on our customers," said Betsy Gara, executive director of the group, per the Hartford Courant.

The activist group Save Our Water CT is among the proposal’s most vocal supports: “A way to review and wisely permit [diversions] is urgently needed as part of the state's water plan. This proposed regulation covers a tiny slice of the problem, but is an important way to begin to regain control of the process,” it says on its website.

Image credit: "waterfall," riley kaminer © 2009, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/