Water Woes in the Susquehanna River Basin

June 17, 2017 in Articles

On June 12, a public hearing concerning the Susquehanna Basin River Commission (SBRC) was hosted by the House State Government Committee at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove.  The hearing was attended by 17 state representatives, several golf course superintendents and industry reps, as well as municipal water suppliers.

The hearing began with remarks by Rep. Dan Moul of Adams County on matters ofregulatory overreach by the SBRC and excessive costs associated with docket renewals.  He was followed by Andrew Dehoff, Executive Director of SRBC.  Mr. Dehoff discussed the regulatory authority and activities of the SRBC, the dollar amounts in various reserve funds (and what these funds are used for), declining funding from the state, and recent changes in SBRC leadership. Mr. Dehoff also explained why SRBC is now focusing more on water quality, rather than just water consumption.

Mr. Pete Ramsey (current President of the PA Turfgrass Council; Grounds Manager, Messiah College; and Agronomist, Range End Golf Club) testified on behalf of the turfgrass industry.  He provided a thorough overview of the state of the golf turf industry in Pennsylvania since the 2008 recession, and how turfgrass managers are strongly engaged in water conservation practices. Mr. Ramsey then gave examples of some of the exorbitant costs associated with SBRC docket renewal and usage fees, including redundant charges for consumptive water use.  Some representatives appeared surprised at some of the redundant requirements and costs placed on golf courses and municipal water suppliers.

The next meeting of the PA House State Government Committee is Monday June 26that 9:00 am in the Shrewsbury Borough Municipal Building, 35 West Railroad Avenue, Shrewsbury, PA 17361.