No substitute for a reliable water

Published 3:41 pm Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Perhaps the largest capital investment in the history of Shelby County, the South Shelby Water Treatment plant, recently went online more than doubling the county’s water supply.

Considering that our area is still suffering through a shortfall in rain, and with drought conditions of last year still a fresh memory for many residents, news that the water treatment on the Coosa River plant is now online is welcome.

Most of us only think of water when we look across our parched yard or garden, wishing Mother Nature would share a few raindrops. That nave approach to how we view such a life-giving, limited resource is dangerous and can have serious implications as our county grows and our need for water increases.

If you are not convinced of the preciousness of water, just ask a friend or two in Wilsonville what last summer was like for residents there as that community’s water source almost ran dry.

They most likely will tell you there is no substitute for a reliable water source.

Some $88 million has been invested in the water treatment plant, not to only provide clean water for current residents, but to make certain water is available for those neighbors we have yet to meet that are sure to come. And that was money well spent.

As has been written many times on the pages of this newspaper, the quickest way to cripple our county’s growth is to neglect its schools, its law enforcement and its resources.

The new water treatment plant can deliver some 8 million gallons of water per day to area residents; a second work shift could double that capacity to 16 million gallons per day. Considering the county’s current need is somewhere in the range of 2 million gallons per day much of the year and 5 million gallons per day during the summer months, one can quickly recognize the abundance of capacity and the investment to meet future needs.

As we increase our capacity to provide water to our growing population, so too must we consider how best to conserve this precious resource. Regardless of investment or expansion of capacity, there is no such thing as unlimited resources; such is most certainly true with water.