Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Treading Water

Town Manager Paul Bockelman

Town Manager Paul Bockelman gave the Select Board a drought update on Monday and the report was pretty much nothing new.

Our wells, which draw from groundwater, are doing their job.

The state is requesting all water bans stay in effect at least through the end of October.

Atkins Reservoir still only 37.5% of capacity
Quabbin Reservoir October 25,  82.5% of capacity

Atkins Reservoir, shut down since 9/21, is being "slow to respond" with water levels still down nine feet and 75 million gallons remaining out of 200 million when full.

Demand is still below average at just under 3 million gallons per day.

The water crisis has focused attention on water usage and the town is considering ways to give economic incentives for those who may conserve a tad more than their neighbor.  Currently everyone pays the same rate no matter how great or small the usage.

At one time the town did have a rate differential where higher volume users were charged a little more.  Interestingly the cut off for usage to fall into that catagory was so high it only impacted UMass/AMHERST.

1996 three year Strategic Agreement (Click to enlarge/read)

And they were unhappy about that so in the three year 1996 Strategic Agreement inserted a guarantee to keep it to 20 cents (the town was considering raising the differential) and then somewhere between the 1999 renewal and 2007 bump to a 5 year Strategic Agreement the differential was nixed altogether.

Just one of the many ways UMass steamrolled the town in those "Strategic Agreements".


Anonymous said...

Many options:

1 Umass Steamrolled (this is over simplified for the brain capacity in the town)

2 A town representative did a poor job of negotiating (this is very common as they - those in government - don't pay the consequence)

3 They had little choice as UMASS plays a more critical role in the community than the town government (a basic reality), debate this if you want, if town officials went away, the citizens would have a few tough days and then figure it out - if UMASS went away, so would most of the people in the town, including most of town government

All these reports on water, but very little about how private wells are doing. It is very common for towns to have issues with water or more commonly dumping sewage in the rivers when they cannot treat it. Private wells are reliable and private septics rarely dump untreated sewage in our rivers. Could we not hold the towns to the same level they hold the citizens for their systems, a higher one even?

It is noted quite often how the citizens have to step up and make up for the fact that the town does not do their job. The reason you have towns take care of this is so we are ready for 25 year cycles in water....otherwise wouldn't everyone be better on private systems. This would also encourage people not to live on small <5 acre lots, which is a little tight for humans...creates lots of conflict.

Larry Kelley said...

I vote #2.

And in the 2007 Strategic Agreement a clause stated if Marks Meadow School (UMass owned) closes they would come back to the table and talk about paying for the 50+ students from their tax exempt housing attending Amherst public schools at a cost of $1 million or so.

Marks Meadow did close before the end of the five year term of the agreement, but nobody ever returned to the table

Anonymous said...

Have you given up on posting about the schools?

The Regional Board has a new chair and Dr Morris has been appointed Interim Superintendent...
I sure hope he learns to watch the budget- We can't afford his wish lists!

Larry Kelley said...

I figured the likelihood of those two events at 99%, so for me it was a dog bites man story.

Anonymous said...

Appy is very happy-so one thing we are to know - this thing is very whippey- whappy sappy flappy !!!?$&@

Anonymous said...

If Morris is the acting superintendent then applies for the permanent postions, very few outside superintendent candidates will throw their hats in the ring, knowing he is the inside candidate. This happened last time with Geryk and surprise, we got Geryk, who had never been a superintendent and thus had no track record. Well she has a track record now and we taxpayers paid the price. It's deja vu all over again.

Anonymous said...

The Kippy Fonsh cabal -August 2016 Gazette letter fawningly fell on a sword for Maria Geryk-guess some education unions too far gone insider staid to " Learn " our bad ....!!!?$&@

Anonymous said...


The town should DRAIN the Atkins, vacuum out what is probably a foot of organic matter (decomposing leaves, etc), and put sand around the banks like the Quabbin.

Maybe dig it a bit deeper -- that'd be really good topsoil.