Mounds Reservoir: Tell your council members DON'T DAM IT!
Damming the White River through Madison and Delaware Counties to build a reservoir is costly and destructive when better options are available for economic development.
The Anderson/Madison County Corporation for Economic Development (CED) has proposed to dam the White River to construct a 2,100 acre reservoir from Madison into Delaware County. An idea centered around economic development to bring in tourism dollars from recreational activisties has now morphed into a proposed water resource for sale to Citizens Water of Indianapolis.
This is a want, not a need.
Yet, Citizens Water told Indiana legislators in September 2014 that they had more than enough water resources to supply their customers for at least the next 25 years, and for far cheaper than the development of the new reservoir.
The CED has said that the construction of the reservoir will cost $400 million, but this cost doesn’t include all the extra costs involved with a project of this magnitude. For example:
- Relocating all the utility infrastructure in the reservoir’s footprint will undoubtedly add costs for utility ratepayers.
- Rebuilding existing bridges or building new bridges
- Relocating people and businesses that are in the reservoir’s footprint
- Building new recreational facilities (after destroying the existing ones)
- Environmental cleanup that will have to be done before constructing the reservoir (estimated to be at least $35 million)
Who will pay for it all is still unclear.
The Indiana Finance Authority has granted $650,000 of our tax dollars to the Anderson CED for the Phase II study, so taxpayers have already paid more than half a million dollars just to study this project. The information available suggests that the CED is hoping to receive grants and loans to pay for the project, and that Citizens Water customers will pay those loans off by purchasing the water once the reservoir is constructed. However, Citizens Water has stated no need or desire to purchase this water and there do not seem to be any other potential funders if Citizens Water refuses. If the reservoir is built and nobody buys the water, taxpayers will be left holding the bill.
There is far too much to lose.
Eminent domain would take the property of 400 families (and many businesses and places of worship). The proposed reservoir would destroy a State Nature Preserve in a unique natural environment created by ancient glacial deposits that is home to many rare plant and animal species, including the endangered Indiana Bat. It would also entail the destruction of ancient archeological sites, both known and unknown.
And all of that cost and destruction for a project that may not even hold water.
An Indiana-based hydrogeologist has expressed concern that, because of the unique geology of the area, there will be water leakage through the sides of the reservoir into sand and gravel. This concern is supported by the experience in the 1870s when there was a canal built along the White River between Daleville and Anderson. The canal was eventually abandoned because it would not hold water.
There is a practical, less expensive, less destructive alternative: the Mounds Greenway.
If this is truly about economic development, Hoosier Environmental Council’s Mounds Greenway proposal is estimated to cost $15 - $40 million (as opposed to the reservoir’s construction cost of $400 million) and would provide even more recreational opportunities to the region at a fraction of the cost, while maintaining the environmental and archeological integrity of Mounds State Park.
Contact your local public officials today and tell them: the Mounds Reservoir plan doesn't hold water - don't dam the White River!
The next step in the proposed Mounds Reservoir project is to form a multi-county commission, whose stated purpose is to make Mounds Reservoir a reality.
Stopping the formation of the commission now will stop the project. Contact your County Commissioners, your County Councilors, and your Town Councilors.
Tell them you don't want them to dam the White River, and that you are opposed to the formation of a Mounds Lake Commission! You can find their contact information here: http://www.citact.org/stop-mounds-reservoir-council-and-commissioner-contacts