We seem to have hit a nerve with last week’s editorial about SB 487, “Water wrongs.” The editorial staff received several calls thanking us for running it and even one that questioned our motives and sources. Let there be no doubt on this topic: We appreciate the calls and e-mails questioning our parentage as much as we appreciate the calls and e-mails beatifying our parents.
However, we would like to clarify one thing, and that’s the line where we said, “Don’t forget that TMWA has raised rates without need and beyond what its own consultants said was necessary.” That line was not absolutely accurate. TMWA did not raise rates beyond what its own consultants said was necessary. Or, at least, we don’t have the documentation to prove that assertion. It was actually a consultant to Sun Valley Water and Washoe County Department of Water Resources who made the claim that if TMWA raised its rates in the early part of 2005, it was doing so in defiance of its own guidelines—at least those in the Final Report And Recommendations Prepared by TMWA Rate-Making Review Committee on May 20, 2004. C’mon, it was an honest mistake. With so many consultants around, it’s hard to tell who’s lying.
But there was at least one particular question that arose in the course of our discussions that seemed worthy of further examination: Is it better from a civic design standpoint to move the people to the resources or move the resources to the people?
It’s an enigma, an unanswerable question. But those are the best kind.
In our editorial, we made the claim that more homes have been OK’d for construction than there exists water to serve. Nope, we’re not hydrogeologists, but we can find plenty of credentialed people who’ll support our assertion. By that argument, water for the new homes must be imported so that the new people will have a similar quality of life to ours, the people who are already here. Either that, or we must further restrict the water use of the people who are already here, thus decreasing our quality of life.
We also made the assertion that we have to put a brake on growth. If our cancerous growth is decreased to a sustainable level, less than 1 percent, maybe we could develop an economy based on something other than growth.
But if people move to where the resources are, the construction moves there, and then city officials would be forced to overcome their addiction to those construction dollars—taxes and campaign contributions. Either that, or the city would be forced to annex far-flung areas—like Winnemucca Ranch. But then, since our commercial centers are within existing urban borders, those people will have to drive into town. Then, greater commute time will be required for people who live within a few miles of work, indoor entertainment and shopping in Reno. They can’t live within a few miles of outdoor entertainment because developers have moved houses onto outdoor entertainment areas and piped resources to them.
But here’s the great thing: There is water in areas of the state that aren’t on the Truckee River. All our county would need to do is outbid sparsely populated counties for their water. And then, the resources would be here—where all the people are. Of course, then those people would have to pay more for their own water.
Enigma? It’s like somebody wrote a script. Encourage your Nevada assemblymembers to vote against SB 487. At the least, it’s an unnecessary law.