Cogentrix bad idea for central Oregon

To the editor: The Cogentrix plant will provide 35 jobs using between 4.5 million and 11.2 million gallons of water a day. Is this the best use of water? This is 5,030 to 12,513 acre-feet of water a year. Imagine a one-foot deep one mile wide body of water that would stretch from downtown Prineville to downtown Redmond. All surface water in central Oregon is fully allocated. So they’ll use well water. But surface water and the ground water are connected. When the Ochoco Reservoir was empty, the wells there went dry. Cogentrix’s well will cause a cone or depression in the aquifer that will stretch out for miles and will effect the flows of the Deschutes River. The flow of the Deschutes River is protected. Any reduction of that flow must be offset by replacement surface water. Cogentrix plans to line irrigation canals to prevent leakage into the surrounding soils. That means that Cogentrix will both take water out and prevent water from going into the aquifers. The total impact is a 25,000 acre feet reduction of ground water. The limits on water availability has become growth limiting. Any city or large business in central Oregon that wants to increase water use for new growth will have to buy their rights from others. As we trade back and forth water for growth and development, we need to ask what it buys. The Cogentrix jobs are at a cost of 320,000 gallons per day per job. Compare that to 94.4 gallons at the Central Oregon District Hospital. Houses take about 250 gallons a day. The Cogentrix plant will use water that could mean 18,000 homes or 47,600 jobs that can’t be developed in the future. I’d rather see more homes and more jobs. In the end, the Cogentrix proposal is the worst anti-growth and anti-business proposal I have ever seen. Steve Bucknum Prineville