Friday, November 30, 2007

Cool, clear water

I thought that fights over water were confined to the southwestern United States, but Cortland Coleman tells me otherwise. He links to a Morning Call article that indicates the Pennsylvanians have water fights also.

Just west of Allentown, near a nondescript green dome in the shadow of two highways, Schantz Spring flows -- clean, clear water considered among the best in Lehigh County.

With more and more homes and businesses sprouting up in what used to be the countryside, the authority that provides water to thousands of suburban customers longs to tap into that spring to fill residents' tubs and glasses and to make beer and other drinks bottled by growing factories.

But while Schantz Spring is in Upper Macungie Township, it is owned by Allentown, which counts it as one of its most precious assets.

Now the spring, which has attracted little public attention since the city bought it in 1898, is part of a contentious debate over money and natural resources in a political tug-of-war between Allentown and its suburbs....

Allentown officials say they want to help the authority.

The city has more water than it needs, and few immediate prospects for adding more large water customers. Given its financial woes, Allentown could use the money from selling water to the authority -- perhaps $525,000 a year to start and $1.5 million a year in the future.

But city Managing Director Francis Dougherty said the authority's proposal, which includes buying Allentown's best water and having the city build the connector pipe, would benefit the suburbs at Allentown's expense....

[E]ach government wants the other to pay for the $7 million pipeline to connect the two systems.

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