Town not transparent on lawn-watering ban

To the Editor:

Imagine it is a hot summer day and National Grid announces that all air-conditioning use is being banned “due to the high demand for electric usage” until further notice. No other reason is given.

That is not much of a reason, of course, because there is always high demand for electricity in the summer and the system should be designed to meet that load and more. People would also be frustrated because they have zero information about when they might be able to use their A.C. units again.

Crazy as this sounds, this is exactly what the town of Guilderland did recently when it banned all lawn watering off its system effective immediately and until further notice because of “the high demand for water.”

The only difference is that National Grid is not subject to the Public Officers Law, Article 6, also known as the Freedom of Information Law, a law intended to protect the public’s right to know the basis for government decision-making. The town’s website states that it is transparent in a variety of ways. That does not seem to be the case here.

Gerald L. Lynch Jr.


Editor’s note: Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber wrote on Sept. 2, in his daily mass email to town residents, primarily about COVID-19, “The Water Department’s ban on lawn sprinkling remains in effect until further notice, except for hand-watering gardens and flower beds. The steps take pressure off the filtration plant as it handles the result of the explosive growth of algae and organic materials in the Watervliet Reservoir.”

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