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October 14, 2012

NH to focus on water quality issues

Conservative groups voice concern on quality

Water is about to make a big splash in New Hampshire.

In the coming weeks, Gov. John Lynch’s Water Sustainability Commission will issue a much-anticipated report that has liberty and property rights advocates on edge.

The New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, coincidentally, will stage a symposium on water issues and policy next month with the New Hampshire Municipal Association and the state Department of Environmental Services.

If concerns about supply, cost, protection, access and control have seemed like a steady, annoying drip in the background for some time, they are about to converge in a gushing flow through public policy discussion and debate.

Lynch will pour water on the desk of his successor as he leaves office.

By executive order, Lynch established the 14-member commission last year to come up with a plan to protect water as a valuable resource.

His order highlighted the importance of water, not just in daily life, but for tourism, recreation, business and consumers.

“The high quality of life in New Hampshire fosters economic and population growth that, in turn, leads to an increased demand for water and changes to the landscape, both of which have the potential to significantly impact water resources,” Lynch wrote.

The governor directed the commission to look at both surface and groundwater, and prioritize actions to preserve water resources and see they are managed to protect New Hampshire’s economy and quality of life.

The commission is supposed to report on needs for water supply, wastewater disposal and storm water management, and make recommendations for infrastructure and investments.

Chairman John Gilbert said Friday the report is near completion.

“We are targeting the release for after the election,” he said. “There is so much noise now around the political process, we’re concerned the report could get lost in that and the issue is so important we would like it to get good attention.”

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