Thursday, June 25, 2009

Water, Paper, Scissors

You know the old game. Paper can beat a rock, it can also beat water supplies. In the ficitious California water allocation system paper wins every time. Except when the scissors come out and the allocation is subject to judicial political whim. The consequence of this is not only massive water rate inceases, but also shifts in allocation from farms and residents to the developers. To cite a letter published in today's Star-News:

Your commentary on water rates just touched the surface of the problem. May I ask why you and I should be penalized for our elected leaders' continuous approval of new condo and housing developments? This is going on throughout our state.

Rather than try to force the considerate water users to do more, or penalize them by raising their water rates, why don't we just declare a statewide moratorium on new development, until we get the supply of water worked out to meet everyone's needs.

As a former land developer I always had to get a "will serve" letter from the local water purveyor saying that they "could and would" supply water to the new development, before I could get my plans approved.

Frankly, if the water shortage is such that we have to ration water and use punitive water rates to reduce water usage, there must be a real shortage of water. How then, can water purveyors say they have enough water to supply new developments?

Locally, on the east side of Pasadena, we have a number of nurseries protecting our "open space." Is our punitive water rating system going to allow those nurseries to stay in business? I am a nurseryman and next to rent, payroll cost and insurance, water is my biggest single expense. I would like to see my business grow, but will the proposed water rationing program allow that to happen?

Our open space is threatened, my business is threatened, our streets are getting more crowded, and all because we are giving waterto newcomers when we do not have enough water for our current population.

Bert Tibbet
, Magic Growers, Inc. Pasadena

To answer his question, it's because in spite of legislation authored by Sheila Kuehl in the State Senate (SB 221) signed into law in Oct 2001 to stop this practice, water is continually sold to the highest bidder on paper despite the lack of water allocation to Southern California. This is all about getting as much construction in place as possible. And again, the entire state economy rides on imaginary future population numbers pushed by SCAG, which has led to the implosion of the real estate industry due to the SCAG policies and massive overbuilding fed by financial funny numbers in a system originated by Countrywide, a local mortgage bank. These imaginary numbers were based upon a thesis prepared by USC's Population Dynamics Research Group. They are now "outmigration deniers."

So now it's Oil, Paper, Scissors. The Judge is on to something...

(Hint: It's not the smelt fish)