The Suffolk County Water Authority and Long Island Water Conference joined together today in Farmingdale to co-sponsor their first Long Island Groundwater Symposium, an event aimed at heightening awareness about groundwater protection and sharing information about a variety of critical issues pertaining to drinking water.
At the symposium, held at Carlyle On the Green at Bethpage State Park, water supply industry professionals and elected officials from Nassau and Suffolk counties joined to discuss issues including water availability and quality; infrastructure management; various pending legislative proposals; and protecting Long Island’s groundwater supply for future generations.
“We feel it’s important to raise awareness of the importance of Long Island’s groundwater,” said Jeff Szabo, CEO of Suffolk County Water Authority. “We hope that by doing so residents and businesses will become more proactive about helping to preserve our precious water supply and recognize the significance of this unique natural resource. Though a first step, this forum helped us to move in the right direction to ultimately realize those goals.”
Elected officials participating in today’s symposium included Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; State Assemblyman Robert Sweeney; State Senator Jack Martins; Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth; and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn. SCWA Chairman James F. Gaughran opened the symposium with remarks noting that groundwater protection is no longer just an environmental issue, but an economic one as well. He pointed out that if contaminant levels in our groundwater continue to increase, it will be extremely expensive to remove them before supplying safe water to Long Island residents.
In addition to discussing Long Island’s groundwater issues, the 28th annual “Best Tasting Water Contest” was conducted at the symposium. At the event, SCWA was named best tasting water on Long Island after a blind taste test.
Groundwater is the sole source of drinking water for three million Long Island residents. The symposium ended a weeklong celebration of National Drinking Water Week.
The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.