The west is in a drought. Along with other measures being recommended or required, we’ve been asked to conserve water. Great. It’s good to conserve. After all, being frugal, dependent on less, and keeping one’s environment uncluttered and unpolluted do far more to enhance quality of life than do frantic consumption and over accumulation of stuff.
But I have two questions.
First, for what and for whom are we conserving?
The drought has forced many communities to issue mandatory water restrictions. Some have even had to truck in bottled water to meet basic needs. But not everyone is truckin’ in same direction.
Take Douglas County, Colorado, development capital of nation, where recently there was some exciting news. Mammoth bones were unearthed at an excavation site. But what was also uncovered was fact that frenzied addition of water taps continues unabated. People were encouraged in reports to contemplate extinction of woolly mammals. My guess is that it was early DougCo hominids’ plundering of mammoths’ water supply to green up acres of proto-bluegrass that caused beasts’ extinction, not climate change or overhunting.
While we’re dealing with a near-empty glass, developers want to sell more straws. One thing is certain. As water shortages become a way of life, we will be forced to find new water sources. Politicians will wait for right time to propose it waiting, perhaps, until drinkable water becomes scarce. Then they’ll throw up their hands and “reluctantly” offer a solution: more dams and reservoirs. They know that public sentiment can waffle, but profit and pressure to continue growth, as well as need to finance elections, remain constant.
Question number two: “Then what?” After we build more containments, build more houses to suck up any additional water, and confront inevitable next drought, then what?
We’re driving around on a tire with a slow leak. We could stop and put some air in tire, but then what? Do we continually refill tire while leak gets bigger and bigger? Or do we stop continuous drain? At least we can find air to fill tire. Additional containments of little or no water provide little or no long-term solutions. No matter. They represent more major development projects, greased with a little campaign support.