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The Mansfield Agreement includes the creation of a Water System Advisory Committee
Connecticut Water Co. and the town of Mansfield, Conn., have announced that the Mansfield Town Council has approved a long-term water supply agreement with Connecticut Water. The Town Council took the action at its regular meeting on Jan. 13, 2014.
"This agreement assures that Connecticut Water will meet the current and future water supply needs of Mansfield," said Matthew Hart, Mansfield's town manager. "This agreement provides a long-term solution for meeting the projected water supply requirements of the Town, including the Four Corners area. Further, it transfers the responsibility for maintenance and operation of UConn's off-campus customers to Connecticut Water. At the same time, there are provisions in the agreement to make certain that the local land use approval process will control where growth will occur in our community. Connecticut Water will only extend service to applicants that have received all necessary local approvals."
"Connecticut Water is eager to extend our tradition of service to Mansfield and meet the long term needs of the community," said Eric W. Thornburg, president and CEO of Connecticut Water. "Mansfield will enjoy the benefit of being served by a public water utility that is regulated by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), which provides a transparent public process for customers with regard to Connecticut Water's rates and customer service."
The Mansfield Town Council voted to authorize the town manager to execute the agreement with Connecticut Water, whose proposal to provide water was the most environmentally sound and cost-effective option among those evaluated by the Town of Mansfield and UConn last year. The agreement was negotiated after the state Office of Policy and Management reviewed and accepted an Environmental Impact Evaluation (EIE) about the project, a comprehensive document with extensive public review coordinated closely by UConn and the Town of Mansfield.
A similar agreement with UConn was approved by the University's Trustees on Dec. 11, 2013 and subsequently executed by UConn and Connecticut Water. Based on the 50 year planning projections, it is expected that UConn and Mansfield will need up to 2.2 million gal of water per day.
A unique provision of the Mansfield Agreement is the creation of a Water System Advisory Committee. The committee will be comprised of representatives of the Town, UConn, and nearby communities and other stakeholders to provide local input on water supply operations and service expansion proposals. The Committee will review and advise on any requests for water service that require a change in zoning, approval by a local land use commission, or involve an extension of the water system. The Committee will also make recommendations about best management practices, including water conservation programs, and Connecticut Water will work with the advisory committee to implement such programs.
Connecticut Water will bear the cost to build the pipeline from Tolland to Storrs, including the portion that will serve the Four Corners area, with no contribution or assessment by Mansfield, its residents or UConn. Further, all costs associated with the repair and maintenance of the off campus water system will be Connecticut Water's responsibility.
Once the pipeline is in service, Connecticut Water will charge rates for existing off-campus customers that are equal to UConn's existing rate in effect at that time. These customers will become Connecticut Water customers once the project is complete. The agreement calls for new customers in Mansfield to pay current Connecticut Water rates, as authorized by PURA. The rate provisions of the Mansfield and UConn agreements are subject to PURA authorization.
"The process of seeking the necessary state and local permits will begin almost immediately,"said Thornburg. "We anticipate that it will take approximately one year to secure the required permits, and then another 18 months beyond that for the construction of the pipeline to serve UConn and the town of Mansfield."