The logo of the Suffolk County Water Authority (2011)

The logo of the Suffolk County Water Authority (2011) Credit: SCWA

Smart, regional thinking about the future of our drinking water is nearly as precious as the resource itself. So the Village of Farmingdale has done the right thing in taking a step that will assure its supply, lower rates and start a necessary conversation about pumping water across the county line.

On Monday, the village board authorized Mayor George Starkie to enter negotiations with the Suffolk County Water Authority to run the village's water system for 40 years. A change in state law is needed. Then the authority could expand its operations into Nassau for the first time.

This deal makes sense for the village. Its wells are pumping at their allowed capacity, its downtown revitalization will increase demand, and three underground toxic plumes threaten its wells. With this deal, the village expects to cut rates for its heaviest users. And it will be getting its water from an authority that has overcome a sordid political past to become highly professional and reliable.

On a grander scale, it's one more step away from the balkanization of our water supply. In Suffolk, the authority already serves 1.3 million people, and only a few small water districts remain. Nassau has a legion of districts, and their purpose seems to be as much to preserve patronage as to pump water.

If anyone opposes this good deal for Farmingale, it would be those districts, fearing for their future. But water is more efficiently and safely provided regionally than by these tiny, patronage-heavy remnants.

Newsday LogoDON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access