Is this the time when the taxpayers of Mineral County collectively say, “We told you so and thanks for wasting our money?” When the County Commission announced they were going to spend taxpayer’s money on a water study of Knobley Mountain to see if there was a sufficient supply for future growth many of us wondered aloud why? If you have lived in Mineral County any length of time you know there are natural springs all over Knobley. You know there is a bottled water plant in Fountain using spring water and the city of Keyser has a dam on Limestone that they can’t empty because water from Knobley Mountain springs keep refilling it, despite their efforts.
Now the county wants to do a bigger water study and at bigger cost as well. DHHR notified the county they are making available $92,000 to assist with the study. That is just to assist, because the cost of the total study is going to be some where around a quarter million dollars.
If they spend this quarter million of your tax dollars; we already know what they are going to find. We will find that Piedmont gets its water from Savage River in Maryland, the Elk Garden area gets its water from Grant County, and Ridgeley and Wiley Ford are connected to Cumberland’s water supply for now. This means that many of the people of Mineral County don’t even rely on water from within the county. History will also show that even in the worst drought, the Keyser and New Creek water systems have never ran out of water. Also keep in mind that the Limestone Dam is a water reservoir for the city of Keyser that is no longer used and they can’t seem to empty it, because to much water flows into it.
The study will also find that Jennings Randolph Lake has 41,000 acre feet of water in storage that is enough to supply every man, woman and child with 100 gallons a day for over 13 years if the river stopped flowing to day. There is an additional 51,000 acre feet used for water quality management, so we are looking at over 27 years worth of water if it didn’t rain for the next 27 years and nobody in Mineral County uses any of that water now!
So basically the County Commission wants to spend more taxpayer money on a water study to learn what we already know; that we don’t live in the Sahara Desert and Mineral County has plenty of water resources to tap if we need. Perhaps Mineral County has so much water because the drain is plugged up from the County Commission stuffing money down it.
It is time for the County Commission to stop wasting the taxpayer’s money on water studies. If you want to spend our tax dollars on water, then we believe you should spend it on providing additional water and water safety. Connect the different water systems in the county together, so that in an emergency the separate water systems can help each other. If a chemical truck were to wreck and spill its contents into New Creek, then a connected system would allow Keyser to bring in water from Elk Garden or Piedmont. If water quality becomes and issue in Fort Ashby, then water could be supplied from Fountain or elsewhere in a connected system.
In short the County Commission should spend the taxpayer’s money wisely or not at all.