13 Aug 2009

Pat Mulroy's WMDs

Both aquadoc and jfleck mentioned that Pat Mulroy has called for an "up or down" vote from her board on approving a $3.5 billion "in state" pipeline that will take water from rural areas in the Snake Valley, which lies in Nevada and Utah.*

Emily Green covers the "human" aspect of the water czarina:
In daring the board to vote against the project that has been the focal point of her career, she told the Review-Journal that uncertainty about the community’s water supply would “spill over into our ability to recover economically. The banks will go crazy.” The R-J story continues: “The worst-case scenario involves a drop in Lake Mead so severe that it cuts the valley off from most of its present water supply.” And Mulroy continues: without some sort of safety net like the in-state pipeline, “you don’t have water in hydrants… You’re going to live Amman, Jordan. You’re going to get water once a week.’
Ok, so Mulroy is daring a bunch of elected officials to deny her plan to keep their constituents from dying of thirst.

(Oh, and I've been to Amman -- it DOES have water in the fire hydrants and 24/7 water pressure, so she's full of sh*t.)

Let's assume that they vote to spend their constitutents' money on a project that will bring glory to her, dewater the basin and not do anything to address Vegas's unsustainable path. Congrats, you just voted to pay the steward for re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic!

That point -- as witty as it may be -- is not my main point. My main point is that Mulroy is responsible for the "shortage" in Vegas. That's because she's responsible for cheap water in the area. Since cheap water has spurred demand, it has also drained Lake Mead. So if you want to blame someone for Mead is drying out and a $ multi-billion pipeline, blame Mulroy.

Why didn't she raise prices and balance supply and demand in Vegas? Because she's pro-growth (developers), pro-engineering (the third straw into Lake Mead and pipeline will cost ratepayers a LOT), and pro-power (for herself).

If she raised prices 5 years ago, her job would have been boring. No headlines. Just quiet competence.

In fact, I think she's drying out Lake Mead to get $$ for her pet project (the "Pipe Immortalizing Pat Mulroy"), and the PIMP will be out there -- forever -- to remind us about power-mad water managers. (Apparently, Schwarzenegger is also interested in getting his name on a dam or two -- he's a big guy.)

And the bad news is this -- she will win. Utah has rolled, the Board will forgo fiduciary responsibility to their constituents and the environment (since an unsustainable Vegas will hit the wall anyway -- just farther in the future), and the PIMP will be built.

In 5-10 years, we will look back at her scare tactics and all the damages from the pipeline and we will see how Pat Mulroy is the George Bush of water. She told us "trust me, there are WMDs shortages that will kill us the children!" even though there are none. We trusted him and we suffered. We should not trust her.

Bottom Line: Pat Mulroy is not a water manager, she's a pro-growth, anti-sustainable megalomaniac eager to expoit fear to get what she wants -- not what's best for her customers.
* Utah just rolled over, approving a 36,000 af export of water from the Snake Valley to Vegas.

Addendum: Nobody caught the typo [MWDs > WMDs] in the title. Damn it -- proof my stuff!