During council discussion time at the Monday meeting, council members heard a report from councilman David Brown and councilwoman Carolyn Robinson on recent efforts to form a Fairfield County water authority.
Robinson and Brown attended an informational meeting, believing that their presence there was in the best interest of their constituents.
Brown said Santee Cooper was well-represented at the meeting as were all the local water companies.
He said that people spoke of a joint effort and the needs for a water authority to be done.
“The town (of Winnsboro) can’t continue to run new lines and sell water when the return on investment is not there,” Brown said.
Brown said persons are moving forward with the authority planning because more people need to participate in the water system.
“The current sewer and water system is inadequate for growth,” he said.
Brown worries about the town not having enough water and noted that the city of Columbia only agreed to sell the town water on a short term basis.
He also expressed concern that the county could be at a disadvantage should an industry consider moving into the industrial park because that might require a greater amount of water than could be provided.
He said this water issue is a county-wide issue. “I know we (on county council) are not in the business of being water providers but our constituents count on us because they have to have water to drink. (county council) needs to participate and see where this is going.”
He said a joint county and town effort will be needed so that a feasible credit rating can be obtained which would allow for bonding and financing construction projects.
Currently, he said the town has a customer base but if it cannot show enough profit from that base the lack of profit would affect the ability to receive credit for infrastructure improvements.
“County council could get grants and hand the system over to the town, but if we plan ahead and get jointly involved it can keep us from having to,” Brown said.
Robinson said that each of the water entities are having more meetings so they can go to the next step.
“This issue is most important because of limited water,” she said.
While being grateful for recent rain, she noted that August is coming which typically is the hottest, driest part of the summer.
“Water is one issue the touches everybody in the county. Without it we will be nothing,” Robinson said.
She called participating in the water authority creation process, a “good and viable thing” that council needs to do and requested members see how legally that they can work together to address the problems with regard to water and Fairfield County.