Avoid The Risks, Reap The Reward: Build A Pipeline To Farmville

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Wiley/Wilson review of the preliminary engineering report for the Sandy River Reservoir raises financial concerns about a possible Prince Edward County water system while pointing out the project could provide the foundation for economic development in the county and concluding that the Sandy River Reservoir provides the best source of water supply available to the region.

There we have three things that are easy to understand.

A huge pro, none more huge.

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Potentially a very big con.

And a certain, undeniable truth.

The reservoir can provide the foundation for economic development-including the preservation of existing pieces of the community's economy. That's the big pro.

There are risks associated with implementing the project, the document noting that, other than “economic development attraction” and “absent the needs” of existing waterworks, “little immediate need is shown for the project.” That's the potentially big con-though attracting economic development and being there for existing waterworks is significant. You build it, in other words, and they don't drink. Lots of money spent and not enough customers to pay the bills, at least initially. That's a potential risk.

The Sandy River Reservoir is the best source of water supply for the region. That's the certain, undeniable truth.

So why not use the certain truth to assure the big pro without risking the big con?

If Prince Edward County and the Town of Farmville together built a pipeline from the Sandy River Reservoir to the Town's water treatment plant-instead of Prince Edward County building its own water treatment plant and water system-there would be no financial risk for the County or the Town and the best possible source of water would be secured to supply this community's present and future water needs for every kind of positive economic, social, educational, and cultural development.

And that includes assuring that no devastating drought could jeopardize the Prince Edward County Public School System, Longwood University, Centra Southside Community Hospital, and every business and residence depending on municipal water.<br />
For anyone living in Prospect or Rice or anywhere in Prince Edward outside of Farmville who wonders what's in it for them, the answer is simple:

Your future.

Your children's future.

Your grandchildren's future.

And don't stop there.

Farmville and its immediate vicinity are home to a vital number of jobs, the education, the tax base, the health care, and so many other things so necessary to this community's life.

Try imagining the Prince Edward County tax rates, for example, if you took away Farmville-they would go through the ceiling, up through the clouds and into orbit before heading on off to Mars. Try affording a public school system without Farmville.

Of the approximately $2.8 million Prince Edward County will receive in annual sales tax revenue, most of that comes from within Farmville or immediately around the town. And approximately $2 million in Prince Edward County real estate tax revenue comes from within the town. Add approximately $900,000 in personal property tax revenue to the County from within the town. So, more than $5.5 million in revenue to Prince Edward County from Farmville.

Assuring the future of Prince Edward County in and around Farmville is in the very best self-interest of every Prince Edward County resident, no matter where they live.

Building a pipeline will insure the future without the financial risks but very much with all the rewards.

What's in it for Farmville? Everything mentioned here. No other source of water for the Town is a worst-case drought-proof source of water.

It is important to understand that the Wiley/Wilson phrase “little immediate need is shown for the project” refers to Prince Edward County building its own water treatment plant and water system and drumming up customers in Nottoway and elsewhere not served by Farmville.

There is more than a little need to absolutely guarantee the longest-term water supply for the preservation and growth of Farmville and those areas in Prince Edward which naturally grow and prosper in the years ahead.

The pipeline would do all of that.

The Appomattox River? Proven to be dangerously susceptible to severe drought.

Mottley Lake? A wise purchase but unproven. A big pile of water-though just a Sippy Cup compared with the Sandy River Reservoir-but a big unknown, too.

Add an intake on the Little Buffalo? Again, a wise move, but a severe widespread drought would cripple that watershed too. Two dry watersheds are no help.

We have been blessed with a drought-proof solution.

A prayer of thanks, then, and let's use it.