Members of the Todd community gathered for a sit-in in the New River at the proposed location of the Boone water intake on Thursday, June 18.
About 20 local and seasonal residents brought chairs and signs to protest the proposed intake. The Town of Boone has proposed building an intake facility to draw up to 4 million gallons of water per day from the South Fork of the New River, less than one-quarter mile upstream of the protest site Thursday.
The town’s plan would pump the water 12 miles to the town’s water treatment facility.
“The water at this point in the river is about 2 inches deep,” said Pat Frantzen, who lives on the New River in Ashe County and is a member of New River Advocates, a group formed in opposition to the intake. “Where is the water going to come from? The river is already depleted when it’s this hot and dry.”
Frantzen’s husband Walt, a local builder, said the town should consider a gravity fed reservoir.
“It only makes sense because of the topography,” said Frantzen. “You already have the sides of mountains to store the water, and instead of the massive expense of pumps, gravity could be used effectively to move the water to town.”
The town’s plan has faced strong opposition from area residents since it was announced in 2007. The New River Advocates was formed last year by a group of 70 residents to fight the water intake facility. They argue the town has offered misleading information to justify the project and worry the project will irrevocably impair the New River for future generations.