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Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008 | I live on two acres, and my water bill averages $50 a month. Obviously, I care about conserving water. Yet, every time I read comments about San Diego’s water situation, people say conserving is self-defeating. Their view is that it just enables government to approve more permits to build more huge subdivisions. Then, government will be back at the well asking for more conservation. (Repeat endlessly: Conserve! Build! Conserve more!)

Given an uncertain future for obtaining water, where is the sense in approving huge developments as if a new water supply is going to fall from the sky? None of our sources are reliable. Yet, government has allowed everyone to get far out on a limb, in terms of the existing homes and businesses and projects approved. No doubt, more of these supposedly “water-neutral” projects (such as the UTC expansion) will be approved, but are they really neutral?

Government has looked the other way for decades, refusing to charge for the end-to-end cost for infrastructure and failing to provide appropriate incentives and penalties. As a result, people put in lawns and plants that belong in a rainforest, not a desert. At what point will we see some real leadership?

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