Running dry |

Running dry

Timothy B. Sapir

This year we are in the middle of what some describe as a 500-year drought, compounding the problems of an overcrowded and arid environment. The water authorities in question have done little if anything this summer to effect fundamental changes in our profligate water habits.

Reactionary behavior and relying on the “personal virtue” ( nod to G.W. Bush ) of water users is a horribly ineffective tool to address this serious problem.

The county and state need to investigate the true manageable levels of water use required by this area’s growing population.

It is obvious that we are just nearing sustainable levels of people in valley in terms of water, and unfettered growth only places us in a more precarious position. Every garish new development does not bring with it a built-in water source and only further strains a finite supply.

Hampering fundamental change is the system of “water rights,” a glaring anachronism that allows private ownership of a public commodity. While this may have been useful when the government was giving away land by the thousands of acres in the 19th century, it has no place in a modern society and must be done away with. It is simply undemocratic to allow water use to be dictated by the highest bidder.

Unless local government takes its head out of the sand and addresses this crisis in a reasonable and proactive manner, we all will be up the creek without a paddle in our own lifetimes. Do we really need another golf course? Do we really need Bermuda grass where sage brush and cacti would be more appropriate? Do we really need to wait until our creeks run dry to DO something to prevent it? I would think not.

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