6. Selectman Quandt: We have two issues that we have been debating for weeks; tear down the dam or drain the river. If we want to drain the river and still protect our water supply, then repair the dam and open the gate, which will drain the river and should have a positive effect on high water issues and flooding. If we need the additional water, and I think we will, we close the gate and the river fills back up.
Selectman Clement’s Response: Finally, the river is not a bathtub. Removing the dam will not drain the river. True it will be somewhat shallower and narrower as far up to Court Street, but the same amount of water that flows through it today will flow through it without a dam.
I would add: The Committee’s report clearly illustrates that the current gate cannot be used to effectively manage upstream flooding - especially for serious floods. It is simply too small, and does not have enough discharge capacity. When the river flows are high enough to cause upstream flooding, the existing low-level outlet is effectively “invisible” - it really does not matter if it is open or not - because its capacity is so small relative to the amount of water in the river during a flood. The gate is not intended to function for flood control - it is to allow the operator to drawdown the impoundment to make repairs under low or normal flow conditions.
This letter certainly does not address all the critical issues and concerns. Before the Town votes on 11 March, there will be several more public meetings, site tours including a number of other ways to gain information. On front page of the Town’s website is a link to the report, itself, and supporting information. I hope each voter uses these to inform themselves and then to decide how to vote. Email- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank Patterson, Exeter
Member –Exeter River Study Committee
(Editor’s Note: This letter is the second of a two-part series to address the concerns raised at a recent meeting.)