Friday, May 25, 2007

efficiency and water

I feel grateful that my local Assemblyman, David Bobzien (D-Reno), is a thoughtful, hard-working, and truly progressive representative to the state legislature. David is the only state representative I've ever had who came by my house to introduce himself. That never happened when I lived in Maine, Vermont, New York, Alaska, or North Carolina.

One of the most pressing issues facing Northern Nevada is what to do about water. Senate Bill 487 would have created a Northern Nevada Water Authority, which would likely have the effect of raising water rates (not necessarily a bad thing, if they started metering water). More important, it was designed to make decisions regarding water more "efficient." I agree with Bobzein when he suggests that "efficiency" isn't necessarily the most important goal. Intelligent use of water should be the primary goal, even if it means the relatively inefficient process of soliciting public input, doing water-use surveys, managing growth, etc. Often, when legislators talk about making a decision-making process "efficient," what they really mean is that they're taking decision-making power out of the hands of citizens and giving it to corporations and to government bureaucrats. Thanks in large part to Bobzein's leadership, the NNWA was killed in the assembly yesterday.

The Reno area is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country. We've got to be thoughtful about how and where we grow. I don't want to suck the water table dry, and I don't want to see Reno importing massive amounts of water from other places. I don't want to see urban sprawl continue to worsen. Selfishly, I don't want to see the value of my property continue to fall because of thoughtless and poorly managed growth around the outskirts of Reno. I hope that Bobzein and others will make decisions based on what's best for Reno, rather than what's best for developers and water authorities.

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