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Private wells are a bad idea, says Dade City commissioner

Private wells bad idea all around

Tuesday, the Dade City Commission, on a 3-2 vote, directed staff to take the steps necessary to repeal section 98-47 of the Dade City Code of Ordinances, which directly prohibits the drilling and digging of private wells within the city. The issue will come back before the commission on Oct. 27.

Repealing this longstanding, court-tested ordinance is a mistake.

Private wells will not be subject to our conservation rate structure so overall water use will increase. Basic human behavior and economics, as well as a wealth of data, indicate that a free resource will get used much more readily than a costly one. Although, in most cases, the use will not be from the aquifer, the pumped water would otherwise ultimately recharge the aquifer.

We should be doing all we can to conserve and protect our water, not encouraging additional use for landscaping;

Each additional well increases the opportunity for ground water contamination. Well proponents mention the requirement to prevent back-flow and other safety measures, but those will require monitoring and enforcement by personnel we don't have and can't afford;

The budget has been balanced and forecast based upon existing water use. The shift from metered usage to non-metered well water will result in a revenue shortfall. In these extraordinarily lean times, revenue will have to be replaced from another source or services cut even further.

Proponents of the repeal make several arguments in favor of wells:

• Using drinking water for irrigation is inefficient. I agree in concept, but the long-term goal is to make reclaimed water available for irrigation. If folks are on wells, they will have little incentive to move to reclaimed water when it is available. In the meantime, the revenue that we have forecast, in part, to implement reclaimed water systems will be reduced and our groundwater resources depleted at a higher rate.

• Other cities allow wells. So what? We should be proud that Dade City had the foresight to take a leadership role in water conservation;

• Wells are cheaper than metered water so the governmental burden on working people will be reduced. I agree with the populist sentiment, but the fact is that a well will cost upwards of $3,000 (10 percent of the median household annual income) just to install. Few people are in a position to spend that money just for a greener lawn;

• Because the cost is high, few people will choose to get wells so this change will have little overall impact. This is perhaps the most insidious argument because it implies that we are making public policy decisions for a vocal few, rather than the greater good.

Please contact Commissioners Camille Hernandez, Eunice Penix, and Steve Van Gordon, the three who voted in favor of repeal, and let them know your thoughts. We need to protect our valuable water resources.

Curtis A. Beebe, Dade City commissioner

Re: Red light cameras

Reckless drivers should pay

Don't like the cameras? Then drive on the roads like a responsible driver. Getting a driving license is a privilege, not your birthright.

You know when a light ahead could change before you get there so be ready. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were to kill someone or how you would feel if someone killed your loved one.

So the city of Port Richey makes some money on you running a red light, so what? If you are driving reckless, driving drunk or changing lanes improperly, then you should pay the price.

When you are driving, you are not the only one out there.

Judy Parisi, Port Richey

Private wells are a bad idea, says Dade City commissioner 10/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:12pm]
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