27 May 2014

Mulroy needs to think a little MORE different

RM sent Pat Mulroy's "think different" views on water in the US.* I left this reply:
Wow. She's all over the place, and -- unfortunately -- not coming to any conclusion ("sustainability is a journey, but it is not a journey that we can travel alone"?). It's nice to see Pat talking a *little* more about sustainability, but she still hasn't stepped out of her bubble. I'll offer one insight for perspective: Israel and Singapore both run their water systems as single utilities where everyone pays money and benefits from water flows. Tax subsidies in one area are not very controversial because the benefits of those subsidies often go back to payers or -- at a minimum -- their neighbors. The Colorado Basin (or US) does NOT run a unitary system. Detroit is not sharing water with Vegas. That's why Pat spent most of her career trying to take more water and money for Vegas, and that's why Vegas is still (1) unsustainable and (2) a bad neighbor.

My only hope is that Pat spends more time in different communities and less time opining on how we need a grand strategy or -- god forbid -- trying to implement one, nationwide.

Oh, and she also needs to remember that people in Israel and Singapore use about 30 gallons/capita/day -- about 15 percent the 220+gcd people use in Vegas. I think that's a good place to start talking sustainability.

* She just retired as water czarina of Las Vegas, which robs me of a straw woman for how NOT to do things (she appears in 49 posts!). Any nominees for unsustainable water managers?

I do appreciate the vast majority of managers who run a tight ship, fiscally and environmentally. It's perhaps unfortunate that we don't recognize integrity and competence more often. Do we need to in water? I'm not sure we do it very often for competitive businesses (their reward is profit), and we certainly do it too much for the 1%, but managers of monopolies should get some recognition for emphasizing their customers and social mission over their personal beliefs or bank accounts.

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