Congers Civic Association Joins Opposition Of Proposed Desalination Plant

Courtesy of United Water New York
Courtesy of United Water New York

The Congers Civic Association Board of Directors joined other local organizations and announced its support of the Rockland Water Coalition’s opposition of United Water's proposed Haverstraw Water Supply Project desalination plant. 

The association’s board made its decision following an information session with the water coalition. The board’s vote took place earlier this month following the December 12th question and answer session, which involved about 45 association members. 

"The Rockland Water Coalition made an excellent information-filled presentation to our civic association at its quarterly meeting in December on the background, available water resources, and factual data concerning the proposed desalination plant,” said Gerry O’Rourke, Congers Civic Association president. “This resulted in our board unanimously signing on in opposition to, as well as questioning the real need for this questionable and costly venture.” 

Founded 32 years ago, the Congers Civic Association is one of the oldest active civic organizations in Rockland County. The association has more than 350 members and works to encourage community pride, preserve local history and foster volunteerism. The association sponsors events and activities including candidate debates and an annual community anti-litter cleanup campaign. To get involved, contact O’Rourke at gerryo2@optonline.net or at 845-268-8639.

With the addition of the Congers Civic Association, the Rockland Water Coalition’s partnership numbers more than 30 environmental and civic groups throughout Rockland and the Hudson Valley. The coalition was formed to look at the environmental and economic impacts of United Water's $189 million proposal to build a Hudson River desalination plant to provide the county's drinking water. The coalition has advocated for other conservation measures and a re-examination of the water sharing agreement for the Lake DeForest Reservoir between United Water New York and New Jersey.  


Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 02:00 PM
I am surprised that the Civic Association did not see fit to meet with the Water Company and the PSC who mandated the secondary source of water to get both sides of the story. Right now they made a decision based on the Rockland Water Coalition, comprised of primarily left wing organizations with no details provided other than conservation measures which have been in place for many years now. Make up your own mind but don't do it on the basis of a single minded Civic Association that itself by its own admission only got half of the story provided by left leaning conservationists. Frankly, I am surprised at Gerry O'Rourke for insulting the intelligence of all Rocklanders.
Mike Hirsch January 27, 2014 at 02:34 PM
Charles, are you in favor of the desal plant? Personally, I don't think that we need it, and I certainly don't want to pay for it. Also, please take it easy on my old friend Gerry. I also like the work that the Rockland Water Coalition is doing, who are not a right or left wing group. Just a bunch of simple citizens.
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 03:05 PM
Mike I admire Gerry for all his work. He is an upstanding gentleman but unless he spoke to the PSC and our outstanding corporate citizen, United Water, he has only one side of the story. Apologies to Gerry if I sounded offensive.
Mike Hirsch January 27, 2014 at 03:21 PM
Charles, are you in favor of the plant or not? I guess we differ on this. I don't think United Water has been acting in the best interest of Rocklanders because they've been shipping our water to their customers in New Jersey. Also, I do not know anyone on the PSC, but my personal feeling is that they are probably government bureaucrats who are probably a little too cozy with the United Water people. I have met Bob Dillon and have heard and read what he has to say and support his efforts. Also, I have been driving across the causeway for almost 30 years, and except for the time about 10 years ago when UW was sending more than the allowable amount of water to NJ, don't recall ever seeing the reservoir much below capacity. They could dredge out the reservoir and probably increase it's capacity by 35% at a much lower cost than building a desal plant.
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 03:54 PM
Regarding so called excess water shipped: Mike the amount of water shipped to NJ is carefully controlled by the PSC. Other than an instance of a broken valve, there has been no excess water shipped to NJ.
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 04:00 PM
Regarding the PSC:..... The PSC proclaimed in 2006 and again in 2010 that Rockland County needed an additional source of water and MANDATED (read ORDERED) United Water to find a solution. United Water responded by building a DEC approved pilot plant that starts with standard treatment and filtering technologies found in water plants all over the world. This facility has used reverse osmosis to purify 40 million gallons of water. Independent certified labs have analyzed 10,000 water reviewed by the Dept. of Health and results were excellent. This was at a cost of over $50 million. During thus period the PSC, Carlucci, Zebrowski, Vanderhoef and Schoenberger, all remained silent. Now 7 years and $50 -60 million later, they want a REVIEW their original PSC proclamation??. And they have the full support of the politicians responsible for bankrupting Rockland County, now $140 MILLION IN DEFICIT and the so called environmentalists who want to take control of your life. Do you trust Harriet Cornell, Schoenberger, Shirley Lasker and the bankrupting politicians to control the water supply for your kids and GRANDKIDS?
Mike Hirsch January 27, 2014 at 04:53 PM
Charles, let me respond to your first comment first: (1) Excess water shipped - I believe that UW violated their agreement for years and was fined minimally by the PSC, but you can check that out yourself, and (2) I am not an "environmentalist" and am not concerned about the safety of the water that may come from the plant. I just don't think (from my own observations and what I have read) that this is not the most economical way to get more water even if we do need it (which I don't think we do). I trust the PSC recommendations about as much as I trust the career politicians that you have mentioned.
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 05:22 PM
Mike, please. I have checked out the "excess water" issue and I invite you to do the same instead of basing your conclusions on your "beliefs". You are smarter than that. This is what has got me going on all these people now siding with the Rockland Water Coalition. No one bothers to get get the other side of the story and people are being hoodwinked by these fear mongering left Wing nuts. Look at the membership list of the Rockland Water Coalition! For Gods sake Mike, the only organizations on the list that are not wingnuts are the groups that sided with them, WITHOUT GETTING THE OTHER SIDE Of THE STORY FROM THE HORSES MOUTH. It boggles the mind.
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 05:34 PM
Mike, studies have been done by United Water as to the most efficient method of complying with the PSC mandate and I suggest you ask UW for this information. When you say that you don't "think" we need more water? What are you basing that on?
Mike Hirsch January 27, 2014 at 06:33 PM
I am basing my opinion on my personal observation of the reservoir levels and what I have read. Maybe it's a gut feeling, but I honestly do not believe the UW or PSC studies any more than I believe that Alex Gromack is responsible for Clarkstown being one of the best places to live according to Money magazine. Clarkstown is a great place to live DESPITE the people in charge, and though you and I seem to agree on most things, UW and the PSC is not one of them.
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 07:33 PM
Most of the time you have based your decisions on solid facts and information however the future of the water supply is too important to base it on observations and gut feelings. It is odd that you would believe the studies prepared by the hired guns of the left wing nuts but reject the studies of your family water company and the PSC, DEC and NYS Health adept. without ever reading any of their information. These groups that joined the Water Coalition have been blind sided by the Enviro Whackos and it is a shame. When the water company packs their bags and you have one run by Harriet Cornell and a David Fried you may be sorry you did not investigate further. THAT is their objective, they could care less about how much water you have. They want to control your life and so far they are succeeding.
Mike Hirsch January 27, 2014 at 07:51 PM
Sorry to disappoint you Charles, but I do not believe the UW and the PSC studies. I'll stick with Bob Dillon on this one.
Rockland Resident January 27, 2014 at 08:44 PM
Do you guys have handy web links to the studies and views of each side? I'd like to read over the views of each side to get a better understanding of what's going on here. Thanks.
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 09:04 PM
Mike, My only disappointment lies in the fact that people are being blindsided without knowing the true facts.Failing to get both sides. Sad, really. Mind boggling as well. BTW your water bill will rise anyway because UW has to recoup the costs of about $65 million from the mandated building of the pilot plant. So now you will have a higher bill and no secondary source of water, courtesy the Enviro Whackos. If the PSC disallows the claim, then United Water will walk and you can turn your water company over to Harriet Cornell and David Fried and his new Water Commission. Don't say you were not warned. This is their main objective and it surprises me that so many normally intelligent people are being fooled.
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 10:01 PM
Rockland Resident...you can start here with PATCH. letter by Michael Pointing.....http://nanuet.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/united-water-responds-to-calls-for-issues-conference
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 10:15 PM
Charles Clewsow January 27, 2014 at 10:35 PM
Drought has actually been a recurring phenomenon in the Hudson Valley and Rockland County for centuries. A look at tree-ring data from the Hudson River Valley allows measure- ment back to 1550; there is evidence of serious droughts in 1570, 1630, 1700 and 1820 (Cook, et al, 1996). However, drought was not a pressing policy issue until population began to grow rapidly during the second half of the 20th century (Lyon, et al, 2005). It makes no difference which of three definitions of “drought” is used; the story is the same. The longest, most severe drought of the 20th century occurred in the 60s. There was a recurrence of drought in the mid-eighties and mid-nineties, and then again early in the 21st century. Less severe droughts occur more frequently. The drought conditions experienced in 2005 occurred once every 2.2 years on average since 1900, but only every 3.3 years since 1970, which was a wetter period (Lyon, 2010). THIS WAS TAKEN FROM A STUDY BY A COLLEGE IN NEW PALTZ
Mike Hirsch January 27, 2014 at 10:42 PM
RockRes, google Rockland Water Coalition and/or Bob Dillon RAFT. Plenty of information on these two sites.
Charles Clewsow January 28, 2014 at 08:15 AM
"I am basing my opinion on my personal observation of the reservoir levels.....". MIKE, are you aware that the reservoir only provides a little more than one-third or our water supply? maybe 36-37%? Previous droughts came when the underground aquifers dried up and we cannot see them.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something