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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

'05 water bill was meant to promote alternatives

Published October 15, 2007
A recent Times article, "Law lets thirsty areas look far," and subsequent editorial, "Water grab would be theft, pure and simple," brought to my attention what I see as a misunderstanding of the applicability of "local sources first" laws.

As prime sponsor of Senate Bill 444 during the 2005 legislative session, my objective was to confront the water wars that we were experiencing between water-rich and water-poor areas of the state. The bill addressed the necessity of increasing the "water pie" through the development of "alternative water supply" projects.

Again, it is important to remember that the point of the legislation was to avoid the adverse effects of competition for the use of traditional water supplies. To that end, the legislation specifically states that alternative water supply projects would not be conducted in a manner that would adversely impact the areas where the water was withdrawn. The clear intent was to offer incentives for the creation of "alternative water supply" to alleviate the temptation to transport water from distant sources. Universally within the work group, the existing "local sources first" policy was our guiding principle.
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