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Report: Limited water should limit growth

June 17, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Limits on Washington County's water supply and sewer capacity also means limited future growth in the county, according to a report released Friday.

"Within limits, beneficial and sustainable growth will be possible, but capacities must be considered, priorities established and development carefully planned and monitored," according to the report.

The report by the Washington County Water and Sewer Infrastructure Commission addresses state and federal regulations on withdrawals from water sources and wastewater discharges, which, in part, affects the water supply and sewer capacity, according to a written release from the county.

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"Compliance is not optional and priorities on land use and development affecting water and sewer capacities are essential to achieve any level of sustainable growth," commission Chairman Merle S. Elliott said in the written statement.

In addition to the state and federal regulations, growth and the natural availability of water affect how much water will be available for future use, the report states.

The report states the county's water supply should be adequate through 2026, and estimates 15 to 20 years left for residential growth in the Urban Growth Area as a result of sewer capacity limits.

The Urban Growth Area is a designated area where growth is encouraged.

The commission recommends that the county, city and other municipalities update their Comprehensive Plans to take into account the water and sewer limits.

It also recommends a possible consolidation of water and sewer operations in the county and an updated Washington County Water and Sewer Plan.

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