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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
For more information contact:
Matt Wallach, Program Coordinator, (914) 358-9840, (516) 816-1718 (mobile), mwallach@citizenscampaign.org

ENVIRONMENTALISTS CALL ON ROCKLAND COUNTY LEGISLATURE TO CRAFT A COMPREHENSIVE WATER POLICY

Environmental Group unveils petitions for sustainable water management plan

New City, NY (May 11, 2011) -- The Environmental Committee of the Rockland County Legislature met today to discuss water policy for Rockland County. Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) and the Rockland Water Coalition attended the meeting and unveiled petition signatures demonstrating overwhelming public support for the County to develop a sustainable water management plan. More than 6,000 Rockland residents have signed petitions and more than 4,000 individual letters have been mailed to members of the county legislature saying no to wasting water and no to wasting money on an energy-intensive desalination plan.

“The Rockland County Legislature has the opportunity to show the public, United Water, and the rest of the country that they support smart, clean, and green water conservation and management strategies that save water, protect the environment, and save money,” said Matt Wallach, Hudson Valley Program Coordinator for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “We have heard from the public, and they are overwhelmingly demanding that Rockland County reject the desalination plant and pursue sustainable solutions.”

Rockland County is currently struggling with a plan for shaping its clean water future. United Water, a subsidiary of Suez Environment, is proposing to meet long term drinking water needs by building a desalination plant on the shores of Haverstraw Bay. It is critical to understand the ramifications caused by a new desalination plant, as well as thoughtfully consider low-cost, safer alternatives.

Rockland County ratepayers can avoid the cost and environmental impacts from an unnecessary desalination plant by adopting a strong water management plan that encourages sustainable management of local water resources.

The most cost-effective way to protect drinking water is conservation. All across the country, local governments are setting up water conservation policies to protect the environment, avoid drought, or obviate the need for expensive infrastructure. Conservation measures include showerhead replacement programs, toilet retrofits and replacements; landscaping programs and irrigation codes; the promotion of green infrastructure such as rain barrels; and an education campaign for residents. Areas that have adopted these conservation practices have reduced water use by as much as 30 percent. In addition to using less water, local governments are employing the principles of sustainable water management: slow it down, spread it out, and soak it in. These methods include designating special groundwater recharge areas to allow for rainfall to recharge drinking water sources; and building rain gardens and pervious pavement to allow for ground water recharge.

A Sustainable Drinking Water Management Plan is supported by a broad coalition including: Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Food and Water Watch, Nanuet Civic Association, Preserve Ramapo, Rockland AARP, Rockland RAFT, Ramapo River Watershed Intermunicipal Council, Ramapo River Committee, Rockland Sierra Club, Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment (SPACE), Torne Valley Preservation Association and West Branch Conservation Association.

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by mwallach  5/11/11