Monday, April 30, 2007

GettysBLOG: Beware of the Water Park!

Residents, farms and businesses in the greater Gettysburg area need to know about the potential disaster that awaits them should Cali Entertainment gain approval for their water park project in southern Cumberland Township near the current Eisenhower Inn complex. The project, which includes an indoor water park, an outdoor water park, a 100 room hotel, retail shops and restaurants on less than 100 acres along old Route 15, is currently pending the vote by the Cumberland Township Supervisors as to a "curative" amendment to the zoning for the area in order to permit a "water park". A recent meeting at the Township building drew nearly 100 residents out to protest the project.

In a recent post here we pointed out there does not exist enough water in that area for a water park, or a hotel, or a bunch of retail shops and restaurants, let alone enough for all of those combined.

The source? Marsh Creek.

Hence the warning. Marsh creek is the main source of public water for the greater Gettysburg area.

The use of land along Marsh Creek in a project like what Cali has tried to put into Mt. Joy and Franklin townships recently, [Only to be driven off. Suddenly, one Franklin township supoervisor likes the project! Well, of course the bozo would like it now that it is proposed for some other township than his! Where do we find these clowns!?!?] is extraordinarily greedy of water. In an area where no one knows where the water will come from for the development that is already planned, Cali comes from another county to suck the water out of the creek that supplies the entire greater Gettysburg area with its public water! The potential is there to pump more than ten thousand gallons per day for the entire project.

Yes, their project is down stream. Major use of Marsh Creek as a resource for this project will drain the water below the impoundment dam at a faster rate, causing a loss of water availability to those downstream from the dam. This means lower water tables for the farms and houses in the area between the Marsh Creek reservoir and the project. This will put not just a water strain on the area, but also an economic one.

Perhaps even more important is the ecological effect. Lower water levels will create an ecological imbalance in the area from which it may never recover. It will affect plant life, and streamside animal life and waterfowl, and the aquatic life within the water itself. Drying out of the lower banks destabilizes their structure so that when waters do rise as a result of heavy rainfall, serious erosion [including loss of property] will occur, and as will an increased threat of flooding.

In order to reduce the threats described above, the Municipal Water Authority would likely be forced to divert more water to downstream flow thus lowering the level in the reservoir, and threatening its own supply.

None of this, however, addresses the disaster likely to occur downstream from the project.

Immediately downstream from the project farmland will suffer a drop in water table that will seriously affect their ability to continue as productive farms. Don't believe it? Ask the farmers in Straban Township what happened when a test well for the new prison and the power plant was drilled, and massive amounts of water were pumped out of the water table! Their wells went dry. Yes, it was in the middle of a drought, but these farmers all lost their water supply very soon after the test well went into operation!

The fact remains that in late summer, perhaps the time of year that such a project would be expected to have its highest rate of use, water levels in local streams are such that in very dry conditions they shrink to little more than a trickle.

Water tables in Adams County are extremely vulnerable to threats from drought and over development. Adams has just sufficient water for its current usage, and perhaps a little left over, as it has relatively few streams that flow across it. All of our streams drain into the Chesapeake Bay, most of them through the Potomac River Basin. Seriously altering the flow of one of these streams would/could have a dire effect on the ecology of both the Potomac Basin and the Chesapeake Bay.

Regarding Cali Entertainment and their curative amendment, apparently the Cumberland Township Superisors are trying to ramrod something through on Cali's behalf. They were apparently thunderstruck and unprepared for the turnout and opposition. They also were apparently prepared to be taking such action without a complete and throrough investigation of the ecological effects of the project, and its riparian effects both upstream and downstream. Had they done a proper study [and no study paid for by the developer should ever be acceptable!], they would have rejected Cali out of hand. But not this gang of clowns -- they live and breathe to make life oh-so-easy for any developer who wants to build on their green space.

As we have seen by recent events in the eastern part of the county, New Oxford borough recently turned down an effort by York Water Company to purchase their water system, and add the borough on to the pipe line they are planning to build west from the Susquehanna River. Why did the borough turn them down? Because the result would be water rates at least triple the current rate. Imagine how expensive water will be if they run that pipe to Gettysburg and beyond!

Water, which should be free to everyone on the planet, is no longer free.


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