Water woes soak plans
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 03:10
by Jennifer Naylor Gesick |
Variety News Staff
EPA says GWA has little time to prepare for buildup
THE U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doubts the Guam Waterworks Authority is prepared to meet the requirements and additional demand of an increased population when the military starts building up.
"This projected increase in population within a very short time frame will place additional burdens on GWA's existing water and wastewater systems," EPA stated in a report submitted to the federal court in compliance a stipulated order.
GWA's master plan does not take into account the impacts of the military buildup.
"According to GWA, its planning woes are further exacerbated by the fact that the Government of Guam does not have a comprehensive master plan or zoning plan," the EPA report. "GWA indicates that the Guam Legislature routinely engages in 'spot zoning' without using sound planning criteria and does not consult critical agencies when doing so."
GWA noted that until the draft environmental impact statement and Department of Defense's plans are finalized, effective planning by GWA is almost impossible since GWA still has no idea whether or not the buildup is in fact occurring or where the demands will be needed.
“Yes that is pretty much the fact,” GWA spokesperson Heidi Ballendorf told Variety. “(The buildup) is not included in the master plan because it was finally finished and approved in early 2006, and they announced the military buildup right after almost."
She said the master plan “took many months and $5 million to put together."
EPA noted that currently GWA's water and wastewater systems are out of compliance with federal requirements and its infrastructure is in very poor condition.
EPA expressed concerns over a funding gap to mitigate the problems the agency faces as it attempts to meet current federal requirements as well as upgrade plans ahead of an expected spike in demand.
Another glaring fault of local leaders and military planners is the lack of a strategy to move forward on formulating a comprehensive management of the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer, a federally designated sole-source aquifer that provides the majority of Guam's drinking water.
The EPA also said the military buildup increases the need to further develop GWA's capacity to plan, implement, and manage the facility. In response to the stipulated order GWA has hired new managers and staff. "However, basic planning, improved operation and management and infrastructure repairs and improvements are still needed," EPA states.
EPA acknowledged GWA’s need for significant levels of funding just to meet the current requirements as well as upgrade facilities to meet the increased demand and to comply with federal requirements.
The draft study brought to light the need for comprehensive management of the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer, a federally designated sole-source aquifer that provides the majority of Guam's drinking water.
EPA said the military buildup increases the need to further develop GWA's capacity to plan, implement, and manage the facility.
In response to the stipulated order GWA has hired new managers and staff. "However, basic planning, improved operation and management and infrastructure repairs and improvements are still needed," states the EPA.
According to the draft study, the Department of Defense plans to install 22 new water wells in Andersen Air Force Base to meet future water requirements resulting from impending military growth.
The water facility development plan also involves rehabilitation of existing wells and interconnection with the Guam Waterworks Authority’s system.
The proposed new well projects, according to the impact report, would draw water from the Andersen and Agafa-Gumas sub basins, which are currently underdeveloped.