Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tempest in a Teapot

Want to brew a tempest in a teapot? Here's how:

Item 12d on yesterday's agenda of the El Paso County Water Improvement District #1 Board meeting was:

Application 1683, by El Paso Water Utilities-Public Service Board, for a 25 year license to construct a 36-inch reclaimed water main crossing the Rio Intercepting Drainage Canal at approximately Station 39+65.

The “36-inch reclaimed water main” is the planned pipeline from the Bustamante Plant to Rio Bosque and, in time, to a regulating pond as part of the utility's conservation strategy. 

At Water District Engineer Al Blair’s request, the item was moved to “closed session.”  After 2 hours of closed session, which also included many other items on the agenda, the board reconvened in open session, and Board President Johnny Stubbs stated the board was taking “no action” on Application 1683.

Naturally the lack of action raised fears among conservationists and friends of the Bosque and seemed to dampen the jubilation expressed in the recent Rio Bosque News. Here's your tempest in a teapot brewing.

Even though the EPWU will seek clarification, one wonders if it really matters what the District does that can hold up construction. Whoever can't read maps that show rightaway or whichever maps are incorrect, construction will go on even if EPWU will have to zig and zag a bit. Of course in November, the Water District Board may just grant the license.

Of course, elpasonaturally will keep an eye on this. However, for the time being, a deep breath might be helpful. Balliew and crew are trustworthy.

The matter though raises another issue that I have been planning to blog about for awhile now: the greed of those who serve on the Water Improvement District Board and hence their unwillingness to care anything about anyone but themselves. 

Picture this: you own a large pecan farm in the lower valley. You also have sat for decades on the Water District Board. Your Daddy served on it before you. Your Board is unanswerable to anyone else and YOU set the price you will pay for water for your water-guzzling pecan trees. That indeed is how it works.

Wouldn't it be nice for any one of us to sit on a board that sets the price we pay at gasoline pumps or at the grocery store? We set prices low for us but high for everyone else.

Here's what Water District Board President Johnny Stubbs pays for his water:

The EPWU buys water for as much as $260 an acre foot! It's less on different contracts but not nearly what Johnny and the boys pay - the price set by themselves for themselves. Again, nobody oversees the district board - at least nobody who gives a hoot and a holler.

Rather than being civic-minded and, in truth, patriotic, members of the Water District Board will clench their fists in an executive session (which may not have been legal) and make no decision on a request that helps neighbors and could encourage an $18 million dollar per year eco-tourist site at the Rio Bosque. But, of course, that $18 million dollars won't go into their pockets. 

1 comment:

  1. And they are happy to get millions of dollars in subsidies for cotton crops from the entire country's taxpayers.