13 Jun 2011

A little help for Pat Mulroy?

In this interview (via RM), she twists and turns between praising and damning Colorado River management:
I think taking apart the 1922 compact is a total waste of time [bad!] because, as you know, the compact was ratified by every legislature signed by every governor approved by Congress, signed by the president. There isn’t a legislator in any of the states that would quote lose supply that would get reelected having agreed to that kind of a regimen. Having said that, however, the compact is flexible enough [good!]. I mean its foundation is that seven states can do whatever seven states can agree to do. Now I believe I stand by that statement that the whole western premise of first in time first in right has lost its usefulness [bad!], particularly in relationship to community to community, city to city, state to state. I mean when you stand back and you look at that shortage regimen, if I have shortage let’s say I have to cut, and this is hypothetical, 100, 000 acre feet of use. If I can spread that 100,000 over the largest possible base, everybody’s share of the 100,000 becomes manageable, but if I take that 100,000 and try to offload it on my neighbor--at that point the burden becomes unbearable for him, and the political reactions start occurring.

It takes me full circle back to what a said before. I think there are enough flexibilities in this that we can overcome these first-in-time, first-in-right provisions that we hang on to so dearly [good!]. I mean, for example, we are paying the state of Arizona 350 million dollars to store their unused water in their groundwater basins for our future use. We’re covering their cost. That allows us during shortages, to the extent that Phoenix, Tucson, their cities aren’t shorted [sure about that?], to be able to take water out of that groundwater basin. During Metropolitan's shortage period all the water we were conserving in southern Nevada we were giving to southern California with the understanding that one day when we needed it we would get it back [sure about that?]. It’s that kind of relationship that will start blurring and muting the negative effects of the first in time first in right doctrine.
Here's an idea Pat:
  1. Put all the Colorado River water into an All-in-auction, with rights owned by 1922 claimants and shortages allocated according to seniority.
  2. Auction the water to the highest bidders (Vegas!), with the money going to net sellers (farmers!)
  3. Stop wasting money on Drop-2 reservoirs, desalination in Mexico, water grabs in Utah, water swaps with AZ and SoCal. 
  4. Use all the time you save negotiating and politicking to improve your golf game and collect awards for sustainable water management.
You know where to find me if you ever want to get serious about managing shortages on the Colorado.