Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007

Commissioner’s stand on water questioned

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I take issue with several points in Poolesville Commissioner Eddie Kuhlman’s letter (‘‘Town has asked for voluntary water use,” Aug. 22):

*Claire Gunster-Kirby’s thoughtful call for Poolesville to institute conservation measures during this year’s prolonged drought preceded the town’s call for comprehensive, voluntary conservation measures (‘‘Consider restrictions during drought,” Aug. 5 letter).

*The Maryland Department of the Environment is currently determining how town wells 9 and 10 have affected wells in the Sugarland Forest community this summer. As a result of the numerous impacts to wells in the region, just south of Poolesville town limits, MDE has asked that monitoring of private wells be stepped up to a weekly schedule, and has added at least four previously unmonitored wells to the data collection process.

*MDE first implemented monthly monitoring for the Sugarland wells in 2002 because pump down tests for wells 9 and 10 showed dewatering of private wells; the data collected this year show record lows in several of these private wells.

*The significant decline of springs and wetlands, and loss of mature tree canopy, on and around the Kephart farm in the last two decades are an important harbinger of our aquifer’s future, which not only supplies our drinking water but supports the balance of our natural environment. Subsurface water sustains healthy forest, and surface water is crucial to wildlife, vegetation and domestic farm animals; both water sources have declined dramatically in several locations.

*The ‘‘aquifer recharge area” Mr. Kuhlman refers to is not in any way defined by ‘‘93,000 acres of Agricultural Reserve,” and no amount of sound science would ever support such an assertion.

Notwithstanding his letter, the town staff has been responding to the water situation professionally and courteously.

Chris Kendrick, Poolesville

Poolesville commissioner Eddie Kuhlman attempted to soothe the residents’ concerns regarding our water situation in his letter. He wants us to ‘‘rest easy” because he says the commissioners will protect our water, and that’s good, but we also want them to provide it without rationing (i.e. water restrictions).

If he believes the golf course’s new well is affecting our water source, then what does he believe will be the effect with the addition of 400 or so houses when future droughts occur?

Also, am I to believe that all 93,000 acres in the Agricultural Reserve recharges our town’s sole-source aquifer as Commissioner Kuhlman states?

Rudy Gole, Poolesville