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Water issue

Note: Below you will find information that I previously had organized into different “WordPress Pages” concerning the water issue. It contains links to articles, fact sheets, letters to the editor, etc. I have put it all here in this page until after the election:


Asheville-Citizen Times articles reprinted with permission.

Leave City Water System Alone, Guest Editorial, Asheville Citizen-Times, April 5, 2012
by Valerie Hoh

Protection is vital for our unique watershed, Guest Editorial, Asheville Citizen-Times, Mar. 25, 2012
by Josh Kelly, WNC Alliance

Water is now the new oil, Guest Editorial, Asheville Citizen-Times, Mar. 13, 2012
by Heather Rayburn

Private business? Guest Commentary, Mountain Xpress, Jan. 3, 2012
by Barry Summers and Katie Hicks

Asheville’s golden goose to be starved?, Guest Editorial, Feb. 19, 2012
by Dwight Butner

This water is poisoned, Guest Commentary, Asheville Citizen-Times, Feb. 5, 2012
by Carl Mumpower

Letters to the Editor

Not encouraged by water system developments, Asheville Citizen-Times, Mar. 20, 2012
by Peter Gentling

Please don’t annex our water, Mountain Xpress, Mar. 20, 2012
by Conor Quinn

Why would anyone push logging at reservoir?, Asheville Citizen-Times, Mar. 16, 2012
by Peter Loewer

It’s time for Moffitt to hear from Asheville, Mountain Xpress, Mar. 13, 2012
by Valerie Hoh

What’re you up to?, Mountain Xpress, Mar. 13, 2012
by Leni Sitnick

Progressively poisoning our water, Mountain Xpress, Feb. 14, 2012
by Carl Mumpower

(Above information last updated April 4, 2012)

FACT SHEETS (last updated April 13, 2012):

Water Myth/Fact Sheet

Connecting the Dots“: one-page fact sheet that briefly explains what the water issue means for people in Buncombe County.

Flowchart“: a one-page flowchart showing what’s at stake.

Press Clippings

This is an archive of articles related to the water & sewage issue.  It is a work in process and not complete. The Asheville Citizen-Times has given permission to post the full-text of their articles as the online version is only up for a limited time. Moffitt’s study committee is looking at both water and sewer. We’re mainly interested in the water and want the state to leave it alone. However, this section also includes information about the sewerage component, too, as it is a part of the whole discussion.

Sewer district merger debated; would bills drop?
by Gary Glancy, Henderson Times-News, March 22, 2012

Editorial comment from speakingforbuncombe: In this article, Henderson County Commissioner Charlie Messer said he wants Henderson County to have five (!) votes on the MSD board if there is a merger of Henderson County/Buncombe County sewage. Buncombe currently has three votes on the 12-member MSD board, so you can see why Messer’s suggestion is untenable.  MSD is willing to let Henderson join their sewer system and have been willing since 2010. However, the sticking point then and now is that Henderson does not want to use the $4 million dollars from their own fund to fix their own pipes, and MSD will not let them join unless they do so.

At the last MSD meeting, they voted to amend the legislation to allow more MSD board members so that Henderson can have two members and Asheville and Buncombe will still keep three members each. All this is separate from the water. At last week’s MSD meeting, the MSD manager
stated that Asheville’s water system was working very well, but they had been requested to do a preliminary study to see what the costs would be
if the water and sewer system was merged. However, they could not give an accurate figure because they cannot factor in the cost of compensating the City for the water system and the litigation costs if the City fights that takeover.

Fair Trade?
by David Forbes, Mountain Xpress, March 20, 2012

Editorial comment from speakingforbuncombe: This article details the bitter feelings that Henderson County’s Chuck McGrady has in regards to Asheville’s water system. McGrady sits on the five-person state committee looking to seize the water system and give it to either MSD (who’s sewerage rates have gone up faster than Asheville’s water rates) or create a new “regional” authority. Questions to consider: How much will rates go up under MSD for Buncombe ratepayers if the state takes our water system? How much will rates go up under a completely new authority? Why is the Asheville system the only system targeted for this “regional” authority? Why is Moffitt working so hard in the interest of Henderson County and shutting out Buncombe reps Patsy Keever and Susan Fisher from the state committee and putting McGrady, who clearly has an ax to grind, on instead?

[Henderson] County could get say in regional sewer issues
By Gary Glancy, Hendersonville Times-News, March 15, 2012

In this story, Henderson County Rep. McGrady, who sits on the Raleigh study committee said,  “…Henderson County, Mills River and Fletcher need to feel like they’re not going to join this thing and then get immediately outvoted. So we’ve got to figure out the governance piece.”

“I think the answer to that is that the water authority before was simply a contract, and any of the parties could either bring the contract to an end or violate the contract; and then if they violated it, all you had was a lawsuit where somebody was trying to interpret the contract,” McGrady said.

“This situation is (a proposed) authority that is established directly by the state. MSD has the force of state law behind it, so if some party violates whatever the rules and agreements that are part of this thing, then you’re going to have state law there; it’s not going to be a matter of a contract dispute, and I think that’s really important.”

Editorial comment from speakingforbuncombe:  It is absurd to suggest that a few thousand Henderson County customers to have an equal voice as 130,000 MSD customers in Buncombe County. Again, why has Rep. Moffitt set in motion a situation that puts Buncombe ratepayers in such a bad position?

Note: Click here for a link to the Mountain Xpress archive of articles about the local water system. The Asheville Citizen-Times also has lots of good coverage on the issue, however, their articles are only available to the public for free for a limited time. With a Buncombe library card, you can access them for free through Pack Library online.

3/09/2012:Fate of Bent Creek property may play unspoken role in water system disputeMountain Xpress by David Forbes.  Lead: “In the furor over the fate of the city’s water system, one important aspect has escaped notice: in July, Henderson County is due to transfer an 137-acre property near Bent Creek to the city of Asheville.”

2/23/2012:Public gives legislators an earful on water systemMountain Xpress, by David Forbes, Jake Frankel, Caitlin Byrd. A summary of what happened at Moffitt’s February hearing in Asheville.

2/14/2012:  “Flooded with interest: Water-system forum attracts more than 200 [UPDATED with video]Mountain Xpress by Caitlin Byrd. An article detailing the League of Women Voter’s Feb. water forum.

03/23/2005:Water tortureMountain Xpress by Jonathan Barnard. “Background on what led to the dissolution of the water agreement in 2005.”

05/08/2011:Moffitt ruling like a king,” Asheville Citizen-Times by John Boyle. A primer on “Sly King Moffitt.”

This issue is still on-going … see Save Asheville’s Water for more updates, and please vote for Jane Whilden this November if you live in District 116.

Posts from the ‘Press releases’ Category