Letter writer addresses important issue

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Dear Editor:

I would like the opportunity to share with the public my comments that were omitted from the article that ran in the Cassville Democrat last week entitled "Voters go to the polls on Tuesday." I don't wish to do this for political reasons but rather because I believe it is so important that the community is made aware of a serious problem that we are facing.

In 2002, Missouri America Water conducted an engineering study on the aquifer that supplies southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. The findings of this study stated that this source of groundwater would only last for about 15 years. Since this study, we have had a two-year drought that is not forecast to end anytime soon.

After the study, a coalition of local government officials was started called the Tri-State Water Coalition. To-date, Monett is the only active Barry County member in this coalition

The Tri-State Coalition recently conducted another engineering study on the problem of future water supply for the region and concluded that groundwater could not even be considered as a long-term solution since there is only about a 10-year supply left. This is the same groundwater that supplies cities and large industrial users in our area.

Surface water solutions are being considered but will be extremely expensive, and in some cases, controversial to implement. It is predicted that it would take 10 to 20 years to implement any solution once agreed upon, and there are still a lot of people completely unaware of this situation.

I would encourage everyone to begin a dialogue with their city and county officials to discuss short- and long-term plans to address this issue.

Readers interested in this issue might mark their calendars for Nov. 8 when the United States Geological Survey will reveal a model they are developing to look at water usage in this area. It will take place at 7 p.m. in the Student Union on the campus of Pittsburg State University at Pittsburg, Kan.

Assuring a sustaining future water supply for our region is just as necessary as any other issue, and probably the most important, for economic growth in our county.


Georgia Longley-Wenell

Cassville, Missouri