PE-Farmville Display Reservoir 'Insanity'

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, January 19, 2012

Editor, The Herald:

It is my opinion that the negotiations between Prince Edward County and the Town of Farmville over the Sandy River Reservoir now satisfy the criteria for insanity: continuing to do the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different result.

For over a decade these two parties have been unable to come to a compromise on the most important issue of our time-where will the parties get their water in the future? After countless editorials making it abundantly clear that this water source is the only sensible solution for both parties, their representatives are unable to compromise. At some point, shouldn't we accept the fact that there is such a level of dislike and mistrust of each other that these representatives will never reach a compromise?
<br />We cannot afford to allow this to continue. The Appomattox River is not the answer to Farmville's long-term water needs. Buying lakes upstream is not the answer either. The Buffalo River is not the long term answer. Even if Farmville takes every drop of the river, there will not be enough. The important issue is not how many pennies per gallon Farmville's residents or Prince Edward's residents will have to pay per gallon of water to get this job done. The important issue is avoiding the circumstance where we turn on our faucets and nothing comes out. We have already come close to this point several times. While the overall flow of the river diminishes, Farmville is adding further loads to the river (the immigration facility).

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Having watched our very own Arab-Israeli and Sunni-Shiite relationship play out all these years, I am personally not interested in hearing how much Farmville and Prince Edward really love each other and that their representatives are merely mirroring the will of their constituents. Lawyers have a Latin term “res ipsa loquitur”. It means “the thing speaks for itself.” The lack of results in this case speaks for itself. The emperor is buck naked. I live on the river. I see what has happened to it while these pitiful negotiations have come and gone, over and over.

There is urgency here. We are in a long-term drought cycle in central Virginia. A nearby municipality or county may make a claim on this precious water source before we can act. If you don't think this can happen, ask the folks at Lake Gaston, whose water was grabbed by Virginia Beach from 75 miles away, in North Carolina. If Chesterfield wants the water in the Sandy River Reservoir, they have a case for taking it. Prince Edward and Farmville do not appear to want it and often claim they don't need it.

For the sake of the Town of Farmville, the County of Prince Edward, Longwood University, and our own children and grandchildren, take this issue out of the hands of the people who have been squabbling over it for so many years. Donald Trump would know immediately what to do here. But there are other ways to solve issues like this. Binding arbitration is just one. The point is that the present negotiators have struck out every time at the plate for more than a decade. It is time for some new players with fresh ideas and no generational axes to grind.

Charles C. Anderson M.D.