Sunday, September 29, 2013

About Time

I owe my readers (those of you left) an apology for not writing for so long. I could say I've been busy with moving into a new home and working on light electric vehicles but that's only part of the problem. I've been overwhelmed with topics and issues to write about recently. I've been stumped trying to figure out where to start. So today I'm just going to start writing about what I've seen and heard recently and what I feel needs to be talked about. Don't expect a lot of depth today. This will just set the groundwork for a lot more to come.

For now let me just say I'm disappointed in what's going on about water. First off, we still don't have a system or a city hall culture that keeps council in the loop on major expenditures and policy directions. First, the $100,000 cap on the Tri-Cities partnership payments should have been caught several different ways and wasn't. Next, the cap was put on there to ensure that council was briefed before expenses got too far out of hand and they're just now getting briefed. Furthermore, it looks like the San Angelo is probably going to get dragged into what seems to me to be a misguided project of Abilene's, the Cedar Ridge reservoir. I'm all for partnerships to deal with water (and other problems) in the region but what I fear will happen is that San Angelo, Midland, and Abilene will end up being seen as ganging up on the rest of the water users in the area. I also think it's a bit naive to think that any new reservoir or surface water source will help the water situation in the area. New reservoirs will just increase the surface area for evaporation losses and will also interfere with the natural flow to downstream water users and will likely make some water lawyers very wealthy while the rest of us water users see costs go through the roof.

I'm also not happy about the ground water treatment facility. I've heard them address at length and in detail the buildings and facilities they will build and I'm sure that when they are installed and started up they will produce safe water in a safe manner and there will be no problems with toxic waste or radiation today. What about the future? What happens in 10 years when our contract with WRT ends? What happens when a future council decides to cut costs and lower taxes by "deferring" maintenance on the treatment facility? What about the fact that we won't know the level of radiation and many other contaminants in the water until months after we've taken the samples. The iron and concrete and pipes and filters will do their jobs. What about the rest of the system, especially the human part of the system? That part that depends on the culture of city hall and future city councils?

It's said that the best predictor of future actions is past performance. Based on what we've seen so far how confident do you feel? Do I need to say more?