Kudos are in order for the area officials who recently secured an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use Barren River Lake as a backup water supply in the event of drought.

Establishing a reliable system of utility delivery is among a government’s most important functions, and protecting a population’s water supply is especially vital.

This new deal – negotiated by Bowling Green Municipal Utilities, the Bowling Green City Commission and the corps – creates a backup procedure that requires no new infrastructure to be built, meaning the system is relatively low-cost – an added bonus for area water customers.

BGMU, which also supplies water to the Warren County Water District, already draws water from Barren River at its Bowling Green treatment plant. The new agreement is remarkably simple: If the river near Bowling Green is low, the corps will adjust the flow from Barren River Lake’s dam to make up for the deficiency. The increased flow should reach Bowling Green within two days.

The plan carries a one-time price tag of $1.4 million, which BGMU will pay the corps for the rights to the water, along with a $12,000 annual payment to help cover operational and maintenance costs at the dam.

Those numbers are considerably more attractive than other options that were explored during several years of research and studies. For instance, it would have cost about $50 million to build needed infrastructure to route water from the Green River to Bowling Green, according to Mike Gardner, water/wastewater systems manager for BGMU.

This is a perfect example of government functioning in an effective and beneficial way. Different agencies cooperated in pursuit of a simple, economical solution to a problem, and they found it.

Now, Bowling Green and Warren County residents can rest assured that our water supply should remain robust no matter what Mother Nature sends our way – and that the price tag for that peace of mind is pleasingly small.

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