Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2008 - (Page 10)

Consolidation – The Cure for All Forecasted Water Problems? FROM THE PRESIDENT BY RODNEY TART, NRWA PRESIDENT When communities believe consolidation will benefit them, they eagerly agree. However, if communities are coerced into guarantee controversy. consolidation, one can almost WHETHER OUR FUTURE water-supply challenges include more stringent regulations, water shortages, decreasing revenues, too much growth, not enough growth, a lack of available funding or anything else imaginable, consolidation is continually proposed as the anodyne policy. In March, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine told hundreds of the state’s smallest towns and boroughs that they are too small to operate efficiently. The governor claims that the littlest towns and boroughs need to merge with their bigger neighbors to achieve economies of scale. A lack of cooperation with this new enterprise could result in a cutoff of state aid. Under the governor’s proposal, the state’s 323 towns with populations of fewer than 10,000 would face drastic cuts if they do not consolidate. Towns with populations between 5,000 and 10,000 would see their aid sliced in half. Those with more than 10,000 would have their aid frozen at 2007 levels. In 2003, an EPA National Drinking Water Advisory Committee report found that consolidation is “probably the most effective long-term compliance option for small systems. This approach is being increasingly implemented to achieve cost reduction and greater water management expertise. While federal and state policies have increasingly emphasized the benefit of consolidation, significant political, geographical and business barriers have prevented widespread consolidation.” The private water industry pushes consolidation as a solution to small community issues. On CNBC, the CEO of Philadelphia Suburban Water was asked how his company will make a profit in the water business. The CEO had only one response, to consolidate the more than 50,000 water systems in the country. When Larry Kudlow inquired if that was their main strategy, Nicholas Debenedictis gave a simple, declaratory “yes.” Academia has been a proponent of consolidation; the National Academy of Sciences published a seminal small-systems report in 1997, “Safe Water from Every Tap – Improving Water Service to Small Communities.” The authors of this report concluded, “If the performance appraisal uncovers problems that compromise the system’s sustainability, then the water system either must improve service on its own or restructure. SRF monies should be made available to public and investorowned utilities for assisting in the restructuring of small utilities.” The U.S. EPA supports “facilitating public/private partnerships and institutional restructuring of drinking water utilities” and changing the U.S. tax >>12 10 • Second Quarter 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2008

Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2008
From The President
Western Water Wars
Are You in a Drought, and what can You do about it?
High Costs On The Horizon?
Water Reuse - Florida's Future
Funding Rural America's Water And Wastewater Needs
Relations and Technical Issues Top EPA Summit Agenda
New Medicine Disposal Partnership
Regulatory Update
2008 Rural Water Rally Coverage
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers
From The CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2008