Sad news down Arizona way.
The Arizona Water Institute, a consortium of the state's three research universities - UA, ASU, and NAU - has fallen victim to the state's budget woes. Director Kathy Jacobs has been told to close up her shop by 1 July 2009.
In recent years, the Arizona Legislature has thumbed its collective nose at attempts to fix the state's broken water laws and address resource management. Now lawmakers apparently want to make sure no one else tries to think too much about the issue.
One of the casualties of the recent blood-letting among state-funded programs was the Arizona Water Institute, an inventive consortium of the state's three universities that was coming into its own with new approaches to old problems.
If we were the cynical sort, we'd say the AWI had a big ol' target on it as soon as Republican lawmakers knew they were getting an ally in the executive office. The Institute was a pet project of former Gov. Janet Napolitano, whose pet projects are being retired to the pet cemetery one by one. The AWI's tight link to the universities, who took deep cuts in all their programs, also didn't help.
The AWI was based at the University of Arizona and run by Kathy Jacobs, one of the state's best water gurus. Its work didn't grab the sort of headlines as, say, the Mars explorer or the genomics breakthroughs, but its researchers were doing work no one else is.
Kathy should send Gov. Jan Brewer and each member of the legislature a copy of Dead Pool.
One thing about the AWI - it was a top-down initiative from former Gov. Janet Napolitano (D). When she left, the AWI lost its "angel".
Of course, we are not so shortsighted here in water-rich Oregon. Our nascent Oregon Water Institute, a bottom-up enterprise from Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, Portland State University and other OUS schools, never got cut, because it never made it into the Governor's budget!
“Stupid is as stupid does.” -- Forrest Gump