LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Taking your next drink of water just might determine the future of Calvert County. What is the maximum number of citizens that our Aquia and Piney Point/Nanjemoy Aquifers can provide Ground-Water and still remain viable? Current Calvert County Water & Sewer Plan, viewable at http://www.co.cal.md.us/government/departments/planning/ identifies population growth figures of 91,000 by 2010; 96,000 by 2020; and 100,000 by 2030. The 100,000 figure is associated with a term called Build-Out. Experts estimate the aquifers can sustain themselves while serving 37,000 households (100,000 105,000 citizens).
Think of an aquifer as large underground sponges made of rock. To view the monitoring of the aquifer water levels, visit web site http://md.water.usgs.gov/groundwater/calvert. A cooperative program among the Calvert County Department of Public Works, Bureau of Utilities, the Maryland Geological Survey, and the U.S. Geological Survey monitors Ground-Water levels. Approximately 42 wells (deeper, confined aquifers) most affected by local and regional ground-water withdrawal are monitored. The various monitoring graphs show declining water levels.
Does having a well monitoring program mean no concerns exist about drinking water and the aquifers? No. A need exists for citizens to step-up to a greater sense of involvement that may compete against watching television, playing video games, or other fun stuff. Simply consuming or enjoying what Calvert County offers is not enough. Calvert County remains unique in that citizens still control the countys destiny, but only if/when involved. Greater citizen awareness and involvement is needed.
Since the 1970s, Marylands Best Kept Secret (Calvert County) became a secret no more. Its Quality of Life attracted residents due to open spaces, low crime, good schools, recreation, and close proximity of major highways to Metropolitan area employment. However, the more people and businesses moved here, the more water was drawn from the aquifers. Quality of Life has a balanced blend of: population density, crime rate, business opportunities, school system, transportation, affordability, civic pride, income, morality, shopping, recreation, and family unity.
Since the early 1980s, citizen involvement became vital in establishing the goals and direction for county leaders and institutions. Principles were identified within the various County and Town Center Master Plans. Master Plans are most important since they represent the citizens voices, and form the foundation for planning. Those plans guide the creation of laws (ordinances). In concert with scientists and geologists, these plans directly affect the amount of water that may be drawn from the aquifers.
The Build-Out of 37,000 households, predicated upon a sustainable aquifer water supply, impacts businesses and citizens. Local businesses are unrealistic if they project (their Business Plans) business growth that serves greater than 37,000 households. Individuals moving to Calvert County desiring the same type of large shopping center conveniences and business park communities accustomed to elsewhere also have unrealistic expectations. After reaching Build-Out, what happens to others who want to move here? What happens to property values and associated tax assessments?
A grand opportunity is underway to address the myriad issues and concerns regarding Calvert Countys Quality of Life. Various Town Center Master Plans are being updated. Solomons, Lusby, and St. Leonard communities are underway followed soon by Prince Frederick, Huntingtown, Owings, and Dunkirk. Completion of these master plans is intended by the end of 2009. If you are unfamiliar with the individual citizens in your community who are involved with these updates, perhaps you need a little more involvement; taking on some individual responsibility.
So, the next time you have a drink of water, think about its source; think about your future and the future of Calvert County. To become more involved, contact the county Planning and Zoning office Phone: (410) 535-1600, ext. 2356 or (301) 855-1243, ext. 2356 or email PZ (at) co.cal.md.us.
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