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The Price of Water

by Karen Reid


Why should there even be a question about who will pay for water in the Rogers Road community?

There seems to be no question about who uses the landfill to dispose of waste products. The landfill has been a problem over the past twenty-five years. Throughout this time, we have been plagued with a host of nuisances, ranging from wild dogs, to roosting buzzards, to rats, to the stench arising from uncovered mounds of garbage, noise from the operation of large machines working during the middle of the night, debris from vehicles transporting uncovered trash, illegal dumpings on neighboring properties and road sides, threats of possible groundwater contamination, and increased traffic through our neighborhood.

All of our homes use wells as a source of water. Many of us are now faced with water unfit for human consumption.

The question has been asked, Who will pay for providing hook-ups to public water systems for this community? My question in response is, Who uses the landfill? Why should this community endure the many nuisances that seem to come with having a landfill so close to their homes and for so long?

An editorial printed in a February issue of the Chapel Hill Herald made several suggestions to remedy our water problem. One suggestion was to provide water for the original seventy houses, but then they decided it was too expensive, and besides, who would pay for the hook-ups? Then it was said that most of the people were on fixed incomes and could not afford an estimated $20.00 per month for water services. The final brainstorm suggested a water filtering system for the original seventy houses. Did anyone ever think to ask the original seventy households if they already had water filtering systems installed?

None of these suggestions even begin to address the problems of the entire community. Many houses are already equipped with water filtration systems. Twenty dollars a month for clean water needed for drinking, food preparation, not to mention bathing is not a big price to pay.

There have been disproportionate numbers of cancer cases and deaths from cancer within our community. We have one thing in common the water. We can't afford not to continue the fight for fresh, clean water, for ourselves, our children, our future.

So please don't make too many assumptions about what we can and can't afford before asking.

  Karen Reid works as an elementary school teacher at McDougle Elementary and lives in the Rogers Road community with her husband Larry.  

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