Water Conservation Obstacles in Rockland
Lake Deforest, a reservoir on the Hackensack River, provides 37 percent of Rockland’s water; the rest comes from underground aquifers. (Stuart Braman)
United Water has built a pilot desalination plant in Haverstraw, N.Y. If the full project is approved, the plant would cost between $139 and $189 million and deliver 7.5 million gallons of water per day. (United Water)
A few interesting facts from the report:
*Average indoor use by Rockland residents is lower than the national average, (62.2 gallons per person per day vs. 69), but Rockland is no water-saving paragon. The benchmark for a water-saving home is 45 gallons per person per day, according to the American Water Works Association while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that per capita use in a newly built house is 50 gallons per person per day..
*While homeowners pay more for water if they use more, businesses and other non-residential users get a discount for added consumption.
*Though Rockland has suffered a series of droughts in the last few decades, none of them compare to dry spells revealed in tree-ring data from the Hudson River Valley. A study led by Lamont scientist Ed Cook shows that far worse droughts have struck in the past — in 1570, 1630, 1700 and 1820, suggesting that such severe dry spells could happen again.
*Green infrastructure, such as recycling used tap water and collecting stormwater runoff to recharge aquifers, are two ways to increase water supply; United Water says both approaches could help, but would not allow the company to meet its mandate to produce an extra 7.5 million gallons per day of capacity and might also be “cost-prohibitive.”