announced a comprehensive program to expand northern New Castle
County's water supply to a point where the area is
self-sufficient in that regard by 2010, if not sooner. That can
be accomplished, she said, without the need to build a new
reservoir, although she disclosed that Delaware Department of
Transportation is in the process of buying Bread and Cheese
Island, near Newport, to provide a site of one if and when that
In the more immediate future, she
said at a media event held below the dam which forms Hoopes
Reservoir near Greenville on Apr. 30, steps are being taken to
increase the amount of stored water to 2.1 billion gallons by
the end of 2003, up from 1.3 billion in 1999. New capacity
includes the 317 million
The water level in
picturesque Hoopes Reservoir will be raised two to three
feet to significantly increase its capacity from the
present 1.8 billion gallons. Governor Ruth Ann Minner and
Representative Wayne Smith await the media event at which
that was announced in at the base of Hoopes dam and its
217 foot spillway.
reservoir being built by the city of Newark and 500 million
gallons made available by technology which makes it possible to
use water taken from Hoopes to within two feet of the bottom.
Eventually, the water level in Hoopes is to be raised two to
three feet, at a cost of about $4.5 million. That will add about
203 million gallons of additional capacity without damage to
roads or private property, according to Kevin Donnelly, director
of the water resources division of the Department of Natural
Resources & Environmental Control.
reservoir, built in the early 1930s on a tributary of Red Clay
Creek in Christiana Hundred, is owned by the city of Wilmington
and administered by the Department of Public Works as
successor to the old Water Department.
senator Margaret Rose Henry and representative Wayne Smith said
they will introduce legislation in early May to require
municipalities and profit-making water companies to establish
'conservation rates' and to demonstrate at least every three
years their ability to meet customer demand under drought
conditions. By 2010, their supply must be independent of
'Conservation rates' -- incremental increases in rates as the
quantity of water used increases -- are common in western states
but their application here will make Delaware a leader in that
regard among states east of the Mississippi River, Smith said.
proposed legislation largely implements a plan which Smith put
forward during last year's drought. The actual bill is not yet
available on the General Assembly Web site although its number,
House Bill 118, has been reserved. Smith described it as as a
matter of working "across [political] party lines to deal with a
critical issue." He is the Republican majority leader in the
House of Representatives; Minner and Henry are Democrats.
not only endorsed the legislation but spoke of its prompt
enactment by the General Assembly as a sure thing.
conjunction with the measure, she said she is establihsing a
$600,000 program of grants and low-cost loans to assist
households to repair leaky plumbing and replace failed domestic
legislation will make permanent the public-private Water Supply
Coordinating Council, which is presently due to go out of
existence at the end of 2003, and extend its activities to
include the part of the state south of the Chesapeake & Delaware
council was credited for developing thee program the governor
said that, when rains came last autumn putting an end to drought
conditions, said to be of a severity that would be expected to
occur once in 100 years, she vowed not to forget the emergency
and to follow through with steps to assure that "we'll never
[again] have to ask the residents of New Castle County to endure
the severe restrictive measures we needed last year."