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« Energy-Water Nexus: Three Papers For Your Reading Pleasure | Main | NGWA Seeks Director of Science and Technology »

Monday, 27 July 2009

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Michael

Hi, Tim.

Thanks for your excellent comments - duly noted.

Thirty or forty years ago, when someone said 'expand supply" it generally meant 'build a dam, pipeline, or drill more wells'. Not any longer. 'Expand supply' for a municipal water purveyor can mean "find more M & I water' whether by conservation, recycling, or whatever. Ditto for an irrigation district manager: finding more irrigation water may mean going to drip irrigation, canal lining, or piping to conserve water.

Look at this portion of the emboldened text and note that 'environmental' needs are specifically listed:

"...recommend ways to increase water supplies and improve the availability, reliability, and quality of freshwater resources to meet critical municipal, industrial, agricultural, Energy, Security and Environmental needs, in consultation with the States, Tribes, and local public and private entities responsible for water management."

I would say it'd be hard to meet environmental needs if you are taking more water out of a stream, building a dam, or lowering groundwater levels.

Then look at the last sentence of the third bullet below the emboldened text:

"When appropriate, non-structural elements should be recommended over structural elements in order to safeguard the environment."

This tells me that 'soft path' approaches will receive priority.

If I thought this were about expanding water supplies solely in the traditional engineering sense (more wells, pipelines, dams, etc.) I would not sign on. Neither would a lot of powerful people/groups, including some MCs. This thing would be DOA.

Limiting growth is another issue. I don't see any support in Congress for this. Non-mandatory approaches could be used, such as providing financial incentives for people to move from dry areas to wet areas - if the wet areas want them! But then you have placed the Federal (or state?) government in the position of picking winners and losers, and that won't fly.

Tim

Reading this after the more recent post ("Been there, haven't done that") highlights the flaws in this proposal. It is, or undoubtedly will become, all about expanding supply. Not a word or hint about constraining growth, conservation, etc. It is BAU (SOS). This gives it a good chance of getting funded, and perhaps some good will accidentally arise, but all I foresee is more Cadillac Desert.

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