City and Borough of Juneau Engineering Director Rorie Watt plans to start releasing parts of a study on the city’s water supply early next year.
In August, the Juneau Assembly appropriated 250-thousand dollars for the study – part of the city’s exploration of re-opening the AJ Mine. The city owns two-thirds of the old mine, located in Last Chance Basin – Juneau’s main source of drinking water.
Yesterday (Thursday), Watt told the Juneau Chamber of Commerce that he plans to release the study piecemeal, to avoid throwing too much gasoline on an already explosive issue.
“To some people it may look like we’re moving very slowly, and too slowly,” Watt says. “But that’s intentional, quite frankly. I’m trying to do a very deliberate process, and I think that’s what the community needs.”
Watt says the study will have four parts. The first will focus on the history of Juneau’s water system. Part two will cover current risks. Possible expansion of the system will be discussed in part three. And part four will talk about future risks, including the AJ Mine.
Watt says the analysis will attempt to answer two big questions: Is the threat posed to Juneau’s water system a fatal flaw for re-opening the AJ Mine? And how does the city maintain its standard of living and promote economic development in the face of threats to the system?
“It’s not a simple question of, can you have jobs, can you have clean drinking water?” he says.
Watt hopes to release the first two parts of the water study in January or February. He says the rest will be rolled out slowly after that, but he did not say when the whole report would be available.
- Several weeks ago, the financing fell through on a plan to bring the “Akutan,” a floating fish processing vessel, to Kuskokwim Bay. Fishermen in the coastal community of Quinhagak have nowhere to sell their catch for the second summer in a row. Many in the village are now struggling to make ends meet.
- The Juneau Assembly voted 6-3 to reaffirm its commitment to combating climate change. Opponents argued against interjecting into a national debate.
- The Utah man accused of killing his wife aboard a cruise ship in Southeast Alaska is scheduled to appear for an arraignment hearing 10 a.m. Wednesday.
- More than 50 pilots and flight attendants picketed Monday afternoon in front of Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. Their goal was to call on Alaska Airlines management to give them what they view as fairer wages and benefits.