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Steve Jones “Water and Land Use Principles”

August 4, 2006 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Today’s meeting sponsor, Cliff Sondock, the Executive Director of The Land Use Institute, and Steve Jones, CEO of Suffolk County Water Authority, presented a program to dispel myths about water and land use.


According to Mr Sondock, water quality preservation is being used as an excuse to limit how land may be used. Whatever arguments are being used to limit development, water should definitely not one of them, according to our presenters.


Mr. Jones went into a fairly detailed explanation of how water is extracted and treated. There are several aquifers that can be accessed by the water company. Each of them having their own benefits and cost. However in all cases the water being extracted can be treated and used, it’s really just a matter of cost. In most cases it makes sense to avoid contamination by creating wells where the water has not suffered any adulteration. The SCWA’s operating principle is to extract water at the lowest cost without compromising quality.


Some of the myths that were cited are;

    Development is always harmful to the water supply

    Development near drinking water well is especially harmful

    Too much development will cause us to run out of drinking water

    Underground aquifers once polluted can never be cleaned up


The water that is stored in the vast sand bank of long island is believed to be 100 Trillion gallons. It would take 300 years to run out of water at our present use rates if it never rained during that period. Long Island with an average annual rainfall of 40 inches is far more than is needed. Less than 20 inches is needed to replace the water we use.


This ever accumulating dome of water leaches out into the ocean and the sound despite the fact that we are constantly using it. Each of the “myths” are not true mostly attributable to this overflowing vast supply water. Where contamination is found, remedial methods may prove too costly, and that well will be abandoned.


Pictured,  from left to right:  Steve Jones – CEO Suffolk County Water, Vivian Viloria Fisher- Suffolk County legislator, Cliff Sondock -Executive Director, The Land Use Institute: