HALIFAX – On Tuesday, Nov. 13, the Central Plymouth County Water Advisory Board met in Halifax.
The once long-dormant committee, created by emergency legislation in 1964 which assisted the City of Brockton in obtaining its drinking water for free from the Silver Lake watershed during a drought that year, has begun to meet once again only in the last five years, with the assistance of state legislators.
Today, the towns have their own public water needs, at odds with Brockton. The 1964 legislation created the commission to manage the watershed and an advisory board to appoint the commission.
The board almost didn’t have a quorum, nearly ending the required bi-annual meeting.
Members Jim Bragg, Cathleen Drinan, Don Howard, Scott Lambiase and Chair Josh Warren were present, a smaller group of members than attended the last meeting in August.
One issue the board tackled is that a member of the advisory board is supposed to be a Brockton Water Commissioner. That member, Tom Monahan, has not attended one meeting, says Drinan, and therefore the board wants Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter to appoint someone else who will participate.
Carpenter has historically been less-than-responsive to the water issue.
The board also would like to invite the newly elected state legislators to their meetings, including State Representative Kathy LaNatra (D-Kingston) and State Representative Alyson Sullivan (R-Abington).
“I’ll track who RSVPs and we’ll be sure to wow them,” joked Warren, noting that not much is happening with the board right now.
They also discussed inviting re-elected State Senator Michael Brady (D-Brockton).
Despite having a mandate from the state, and meeting for several years now, the board is in a nascent state. They are still obtaining email addresses and a letterhead, both topics of discussion.
The controversies over where Brockton gets its drinking water has long been a source of consternation for the towns that supply it:, Halifax, Hanson, Kingston, Pembroke, Plympton and Whitman.
Halifax has possibly been hardest hit by the mismanagement of Brockton’s drinking supply, say experts.
Cyanobacteria blooms in Monponsett Lake are believed to be just one of the consequences of this mismanagement and recently the quality of Brockton’s water supply is in question.
Brockton primarily draws its water from Silver Lake. During periods when the Monponsett Lakes are at a level where Brockton can draw off water, the natural direction of the water flow is effectively reversed, leaving West Monponsett pond stagnant and an excellent environment for cyanobacteria to grow.
Soon, cyanobacteria blooms, feeding on the phosphorous, were frequent in the summer, limiting recreational activity on the once-thriving lake.
Although the towns and state have addressed issues year-by-year, more permanent solutions are being sought.
The CPCWDAB will next meet Monday, Feb. 4, at 4 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room of Halifax Town Hall.