Water source debated: Saratoga Lake option considered

It was in. It was out. Now it's back in again.

The Comprehensive Planning Committee has decided to restore to the city's comprehensive plan language that would endorse Saratoga Lake as the city's future water source.

The committee could not vote to restore the language at its Monday, Sept. 24, meeting because, with only six of 15 committee members present, it lacked a quorum to take action.

The water source recommendation became a hot topic a few months ago when Saratoga Springs resident Jane Weihe said she was sent an e-mail on June 9 that contained what was called the final working draft of the comprehensive plan that was going out to the public.

The Spotlight has obtained a copy of this e-mail from Weihe, who is running for commissioner of finance this November. Contained in it was a bullet-point that recommended the city continue to pursue permitting of the proposed Saratoga Lake Water Source project to meet the city's long terms needs for an economical, high quality and city-controlled source of potable water. That bullet was missing from the draft that was disseminated for a July public hearing.

At the Sept. 24 meeting, Saratoga Lake Association President Wilma Koss said the comprehensive plan should not recommend an alternative water source for a number of reasons. First and foremost, said Koss, is that the city has multiple viable sources and simply does not sustain the usage that would require an alternate source. She said the city has in the past extremely overestimated its usage.

"We don't need water," said Koss. "We don't need it from Saratoga Lake, and we don't need it from the Hudson. The city's quest for water was based on a 1988 [Department of Conservation] report that said if the city did nothing, Loughberry Lake would not be a suitable source by 1988," said Koss. "Here we are almost 20 years after that report and the city's water is fine because of good water management."

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