A deal worth approving

Published 7:54 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Supporters say the intermodal park in Windsor is the “little engine that could” foster economic development, tax revenue and jobs in Isle of Wight County.

That little engine is going to need plenty of water. The proposed water deal between the Western Tidewater Water Authority, which serves the county and the City of Norfolk, will ensure that it does.

The county is currently only using about half a million gallons of water a day, but that number will increase substantially as the Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park begins to take off. County officials say the intermodal park alone could require 2 million to 5 million gallons of water per day, depending on what type of industry builds there and when. Growth elsewhere in the county will also drive up demand.

But the WTWA’s current water sources — namely surface water in Suffolk, groundwater permits and water from Portsmouth — won’t be enough to support the intermodal park.

Industries won’t come if there are no water guarantees. And if new industries don’t come to Isle of Wight, then there won’t be an opportunity to expand the tax base and rely less on real estate taxes.

The county’s Board of Supervisors should look to the future, get the engine running and approve the deal at its next meeting on Aug. 20.