The Value of Water: Part one – Vote of the Whitin Reservoir Watershed District

83 yea, 5 nay was the vote last night of the members of the Whitin Reservoir Watershed District to purchase their dam at a cost of $320,000. I am told the Whitin’s meeting did NOT include consideration of the Manchaug Pond dam in their land taking.

Here’s the report as recorded in the Worcester Telegram this morning:

DOUGLAS — Proprietors of the Whitin Reservoir Watershed District last night voted 83-5 in favor of taking by eminent domain 387 acres that includes the reservoir and the dam.

Interface Fabrics Group, stockholder of the owners of record Mumford River Co. and Hydro Projects, agreed to the land-taking and to grant a deed for all rights to the watershed district for $320,000.

Don J. Virostek told district members last night that if they did not go forward with taking the land, Interface would likely petition the Office of Dam Safety to breach the dam and it would return to being a river as it was in 1840.

He also said that once the purchase and sale agreement is signed, the splash boards controlling the flow of water into the Mumford River would be put in place. (MPA file photo)

The district, established in May 2008, will have the right to enforce trespassing laws. It will also be liable in the event of a dam catastrophe. The liability will be limited to $100,000, as the district is a “municipality within a municipality,” Mr. Virostek explained.

Proprietors will repay a 15-year loan for $320,000 through tax assessments. The first year, the rate will be 62 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, John P. Bombara said.

— Ruth Vecchione