|The South Branch of the Raritan River, circa 1906|
This was in September of 1973!
Although Hillsborough did not suffer greatly in the August 2nd storm, the municipality, particularly the little village of South Branch, was at the epicenter of future flood control plans.
One idea, which was already on the table before the 1973 storm, was a proposal to build a reservoir at the confluence of the North and South Branches of the Raritan River. The Raritan Confluence Reservoir would have put put parts of Branchburg, Bridgewater, and Hillsborough under water. You can see on the map how a reservoir about as big as Spruce Run would flood a portion of the three municipalities.
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At that time, the state had already been acquiring land for the reservoir - but faced with opposition from South Branch residents concerned with the loss of historic sites in the area, an immediate 120 day moratorium on land purchases was instituted.
|The New York Times, 23 September 1973|
As late as 2000, the reservoir was still being talked about. At a meeting of the State House Commission, an acre of land that was part of the proposed reservoir was leased to the Branchburg Funeral Home on Route 202 to be used for overflow parking. The lease had an initial period of five years with a five year option. At the same meeting, it was also mentioned that at some time in the future the reservoir would need to be built - just not in that decade.
Well, that decade is just about over, so, what do you think? Should we drown a little bit of Hillsborough to help control flooding?