State to study ways to protect drinking water

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:55

    The Department of Environmental Protection will spend $850,000 for an 18-month study of how to improve the state's drinking water system and protect it from the effects of drought, terrorism or other catastrophes. The move announced Thursday comes two years after a drought dried up reservoirs and forced water restrictions on homeowners and businesses. At the time, officials discovered that key pipelines and pumping stations were broken or missing, hampering the ability to shift water from relatively moist areas to the parched regions that needed relief. ``Rather than manage our water resources from emergency to emergency, we need to make sure that when the next drought occurs, we have safeguards in place,'' DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell said in a prepared statement. Gannett Fleming, an international consulting firm, will conduct the study, which should be complete by April 2006. The study will look at major pipelines, links between individual water systems and how the supplies should be managed to handle statewide emergencies, as well as the rates utilities charge for their water. The state also is soliciting proposals for creating ``alternative'' water supplies, such as us