Gardner, as recently as July 17, has imposed mandatory water restrictions in an effort to conserve and keep faucets on.
Why is this water restriction happening? It’s not only because of the current drought.
It’s because the Hillsdale water plant was at 99 percent capacity for five consecutive days.. It seems reasonable to restrict water when the plant is running is not at full capacity.
But why are we at 100% capacity?
The last time water restrictions were imposed was about seven years ago. There was discussion at that time of the need for additional water capacity.
And Gardner’s population has continued to grow during the intervening years.
As recently as 2017 the need for a new facility was identified in the Water Master Plan and discussions have occurred during a work session, planning commission meeting and city council meeting.
It was most recently discussed during the 2019-2020 budget presentation, and it is also part of the city’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan.
While we appreciate the discussion, we believe basic infrastructure should be fast-tracked. Gardner council has a long history of being reactionary —”if you wait long enough there will be an emergency and then you have to do something.”
Such as pass a sales tax for run-of-the-mill road repair.
Or postpone repair of the dam and dredging of Gardner Lake indefinitely — this lake is a valuable asset and can serve as the city’s secondary water source.
We could go on, but we are trying not to mention the lack of toilet facilities and the outhouse at Gardner Municipal Airport for the last 18 months.
At this point, the cities of Edgerton and Water #7 have adequate supplies. Although, they tell their citizens to use water as sparingly as possible, they haven’t imposed a mandatory order.
Maybe because they are forward-thinking and not reactionary.
Maybe because those communities’ history isn’t fraught with political grandstanding and grandiose, pie-in-the-sky plans that, although wonderful, should be dealt with only AFTER infrastructure is well-maintained and a plan is in place for basic necessities.
We doubt the need for a convention and visitors’ bureau if we have to place porta potty’s outside, or only allow tourists to use the facilities on even or odd days.
We’re also doubtful people will move to a “wired city” if there is no water.
Gardner needs a fiscally conservative, take care of the public’s business, city council.