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Water Demand Study Turns Into Hunter Lake Debate

Water Demand Study Turns Into Hunter Lake Debate

Photo: Newsradio WTAX

An ordinance to develop projections of future water demand in Springfield devolved into another debate about Hunter Lake, the front-runner to become the city’s second water source.

But the problem, according to Ward 1 Alderman Frank Edwards, is that Hunter Lake has been discussed for more than 40 years.

“Maybe the best thing to do is to put an ordinance together that says we’re going to proceed with Hunter Lake. Period. Yea or Nay,” said Edwards. “Then [the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers] can do the dancing, they can come in and say ‘no we’re not going to let you.'”

Edwards wants an ordinance drafted, and in the meantime wants City Water Light and Power to figure out how much it would cost to build a second lake in today’s dollars. More importantly, he wants to know how much water rates would have to go up to fund the project.

Edwards says the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have been stringing the city along by requiring studies, then more studies when those studies are outdated.

The measure before aldermen is no different; it’s one of several studies required to explore a second water source. Springfield water demand projections were last compiled in 1991 — the results are now outdated.

Springfield Corporation Counsel Todd Greenburg says he’ll consider drafting an ordinance, and while some aldermen shared Edwards’ frustration and agreed the process has dragged for too long, others wanted a more metered approach.

The ordinance to study future water demand was placed on the consent agenda for next week, meaning it’s likely to pass with little or no discussion.

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