Want the news summarized?
Subscribe to The Morning Report.
Several bloggers have addressed this thorny issue and some, mired in their own ego and Enron-style accounting logic, seem, shall we say, all wet.
On the one hand, we need to be mindful that water is a public benefit resource and that access to safe, clean drinking water is a God-given gift to all people. As such, government has a moral as well as a legal obligation to be good stewards of our water resources and to ensure a reliable supply to the ratepayers. We should also be mindful of the need for safe and clean water for agricultural purposes, lest there be a repeat of the E. coli calamity here in San Diego County.
On the other hand, the public sector has gotten us into the mess we are in today vis a vis real and projected water supply shortfalls…shortages that threaten the economy and the environment of San Diego. Unbridled growth with scant attention paid to infrastructure needs (not only water supply, but roads, sanitation, the airport, etc.), Enron-like accounting practices by local government, have conspired to transform America’s Finest City into a barren landscape of failed and environmentally questionable initiatives, i.e., toilet-to-tap and the butt of jokes on the late-night comedy scene. Remember Jay Leno’s broadside: “Did you hear that San Diego is going to turn sewer water into drinking water? So remember, the first glass of water you drink in the morning could be the beer you had the night before.”
What is needed to secure San Diego’s water future will not be easy, but we have few more urgent tasks. Senator Barry Goldwater once said “There are three things a westerner will fight over: water, gold, and women – in that order.” We need to de-politicize decision-making in the city and county and try to get along better with the various regional and national water authorities that dictate a large part of our supply.
The voters of San Diego have recently called for partial privatization of some city services. Water should never be privatized, yet we do need to tap into the creative genius of the private sector in order to meet future demand. We cannot leave it to the politicians, accountants, lawyers and bureaucrats and others who fiddle while we are running on empty.