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Much of the western United States is dry, very dry.

From the fountains of Vegas to the irrigated garden that is California and the sprinkler fed lawns of Colorado's Front Range, water is what makes the west grow, and we're running out.

Disclaimer, I'll fish but I'm not obsessed. Lot of work for a little protein. I just liked the video.

What does concern me is that we spend so much effort to waste water. Many of the covenants for home owner associations dictate a large percentage of the front lawns must be irrigated blue grass. We spend lots of effort paying workers from other countries to come here and mow our lawns and spray tons of poisons and fertilizers to further clog our water systems.

Water bills lack the progressivity to encourage conservation. A fee structure to encourage conservation would have a very low rate at for four or so thousand gallons and then double for six or seven and double again for ten or twelve and double again ever four or five thousand gallons.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Water is always a concern in the west. To (6+ / 0-)

    ignore the elephant in the room is to do so at our own peril.  I have also been working on a water in the west article, but it got too long and got away from me.  I'm sure I'll get to it.  The news doesn't get better in the water issue.  It's a large topic in proportion to its importance and size of the problem.

    I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

    by notdarkyet on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 04:59:00 PM PDT

    •  I have to make an effort to make some sort (4+ / 0-)

      of ordinance or municipal law in my town.

      We are at the edge of sprawl from Boulder and sprawl from Denver, set to double and double again in population. Only problem is the board of Trustees are builders. I'll try after the variance for a chicken coop.

      "Don't fall or we both go." Derek Hersey 1957-1993

      by ban nock on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 05:04:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  bills ARE progressive (6+ / 0-)

    not as much as you suggest, but these are my rates

    Hundred Cubic Feet (CCF)    Rate Per CCF
    0 - 8                                 1 .64  
    9 - 46                               3 .14  
    47 - 70                              4 .64  
    71 +                                   6 .14

    the problem here in California is that many farmers aren't paying anywhere near the real costs of their water, so they have no incentive to conserve.

    "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

    by esquimaux on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 05:07:27 PM PDT

  •  yes yes yes! (9+ / 0-)

    as a water lawyer it drives me nuts sometimes that people think water is infinite resource and so many, government and people, take it for granted.

    we generally have the same quantity of water now as when the Dinosaurs roamed our earth, but we got a bunch more straws using that water, and huge mismanagement.

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 05:52:07 PM PDT

    •  aha, a lawyer ;-) (2+ / 0-)

      It's a long story but one time a lawyer on his own initiative helped me out, and then further down that same road another lawyer decided in my favor. Neither of them needed to, it would have been easier to go with the flow. I'm a nobody, I was getting railroaded by a somebody.

      You'll never hear me badmouth the legal profession. They sometimes represent the powerless.

      Good job you do

      "Don't fall or we both go." Derek Hersey 1957-1993

      by ban nock on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:01:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this - I used to drink a gallon per day (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    in the summer - addicted to water, I am. I was in Boulder almost a year ago and have been watching your situation with great concern - we just got out of a bad dry spell here in Minneapolis that is still raging in the Northeast portion of Minnesota - Lake Superior is low.

    I have some questions...

    by ocular sinister on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:34:44 PM PDT

  •  i've always thought that "exponential" fees (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    make the most sense.

    it's very easy to put a bound an what people reasonably need.  when it exceeds that bound it should get more expensive, quickly.

    the key is to make it apply to business as well as individuals.

    the downside, of course, is that then companies go to a country where a dictator owns the water rights, and produces there instead of here.

    that's why no such solution can be implemented without tariffs.

    think I'm straying a little...

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:44:20 PM PDT

  •  Golf courses and development (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, ban nock

    A proposed development outside the town we live near was to have something like 600 homes and two golf courses. The homes were no problem (for the developer) since every single-family home in WA has the right to sink a well.

    But the golf courses needed a "water right", which is a legal entitlement to some portion of some body of water or flow - a creek, an irrigation channel or pipe, a lake, etc. The developers couldn't secure sufficient water rights from the surrounding land owners (homes, vineyards and orchards) so they turned to the town.

    The town has a year-round population of about 3000. The first golf course alone would have taken about 1/3 of the town's water allotment, a basically all of the unused portion of the city's water rights to lake it sits next to. No new construction in town could have hooked up to the city water system.

    Fortunately the real estate bust saw the development go bankrupt and the local backers head for another state. But it'll be back in some form.

    Similarly, above Cle Elum, WA, Plum Creek timber used to have a lot of acres of private forest for timber. They decided (again, during the boom, so this may have changed) that the land was worth more for residential development. Cutting most of the trees would increase the rate of water flow in surface streams, and sinking all the wells had a high probability of lowering the water table for town residents below. Meaning they would have to drill new, deeper wells, which is extremely expensive, and their flow rates might decrease as well.

    That's likely to be a recurring problem, as even Weyerhauser is no longer a timber company, but re-organized as a real estate investment trust (REIT).

    We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

    by badger on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 07:52:02 PM PDT

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