Rick Hammel: Surely Sen. McCain is kidding
August 22, 2008
In 1922, the seven Colorado River Basin states signed a compact that allocated 7.5 million acre feet of water to the three lower basin states of California, Arizona and Nevada. In addition, 1.5 million acre feet was allocated to Mexico.
Since that time, none of the lower basin states has done adequate land use plans. Southern California Metropolitan Water District has such great water demands that it has to import water from the eastern Sierra Nevada area of Inyo/Mono Valleys and the Sacramento River/ San Joaquin River Delta.
Now they want more, as do many over-built communities of central Arizona.
But construction is rampant in southern California and central Arizona. Water became scarce in the early 1990 drought. You would think the affected county land-use planners would have learned from the times of drought and put a cap on development.
But, no, they thought that a savior politician would come through for them. Enter John McCain.
To renegotiate the 1922 Compact would create tremendous chaos in the seven states. No one has mentioned the water that must go to Mexico (Water does not flow into the Gulf of California as it did historically).
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As many politicians have stated, renegotiations would be absolutely wrong.
Instead why don’t the “water-poor” states renegotiate their land-use plans and institute extreme water conservation policies, like no new swimming pools and no new golf courses.
Give tax breaks for those who fill their pools with dirt and incentives to those existing golf courses who come up with new ways to conserve water. But do not renegotiate the 1922 Colorado River Basin Compact.