New York orders desalination standby to be scrapped

The New York state Public Service Commission (PSC) has directed Suez, to abandon its US$ 150 million Haverstraw desalination project following local pressure to scrap the plan in favour of conservation measures.

The PSC has approved Suez’s plan to step up conservation and leak control while seeking alternative sources of water to the Hudson River to supply the Rockland county.

PSC chairwoman, Audrey Zibelman, said, “Circumstances have changed since the commission first asked the company to develop a new long-term water supply in 2006. The development of a comprehensive water conservation plan by the utility and the community will help meet the needs of the community for the next decade.”

The PSC put the Haverstraw project on hold in November 2014 after deciding that there was no need for another water source. A coalition of local environmental groups had petitioned the PSC to end the project. The protesters doubted that alternative measures had been adequately explored.

They asserted that the urgency for increase Rockland’s water supplies had been overestimated by the Rockland supplier – Suez subsidiary, United Water which has since been rebranded as Suez. Founder of the coalition, George Potanovic, said the project was “unnecessary, expensive and not needed at least for ten years.”