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Friday, 01 January 2010


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Martin Zehr


The national water vision could best be exemplified in the water planning process of the Middle Rio Grande. The most fundamental principle that explained both its successes and its failures was the inclusion of the goal to: "Balance growth with renewable supply (approved by the Water Assembly Action
Committee but not by the Water Resources Board)." Sooner or later sustainability needs to be defined regionally and diversions will have to take a back seat to options that address the growth issues.

Gabriel Eckstein

Hi Michael,
While I certainly favor a more progressive national guidance approach to water management, having lived in Texas for a number of years, I am quite confident that were such a national policy proposed, Texas would be the first out of the gate to oppose it! Anyone surprised?!
Accordingly, I am organizing a mini conference to bring the issue to the Texas table for discussion. The conference, "National Water Policy and the Future of Texas Water: A Local and National Debate," will feature a number of prominant Texans and others as well as our friend Jim Thebaut, who will screen his documentary "The American Southwest: Are We Dry Yet?" Details on the conference can be found at:


Hi, Wes and Paul.

Thank you both for your excellent comments. I hope you will consider posting them to the Water Vision WWW site so all can see them.

Thanks for your shout-out to the NWC - see:

I like your comments about a national-level document.

At this point, we are not asking people to comment on or propose a national water policy, just a national water vision, which can be as short as a few sentences - like a vision statement.

Perhaps we need a national water ethic?


Always good to hear from you.

Keep in mind we are asking for a vision (analogous to a vision statement), not a plan or policy. No need to write a small book.

If we had anything but an open-ended invitation we would have (rightly) invited criticism that we were limiting the debate or trying to "push" the discussion in a certain direction.

Regarding AWRA membership: anyone can join AWRA. From the WWW site:

"Individuals interested in any aspect of water resources shall be eligible to become a Regular Member of the Association."

So if you pay your dues you too can join the "elite" (I use that term facetiously).

But membership in AWRA has nothing to do with what we are asking. We are simply seeking to fathom what individual stakeholders think of a national water vision for the USA. Good? Bad? Unnecessary? Simple as that. If we did not care what nonmembers thought, I would not have posted this on my blog nor would AWRA have made the Water Vision WWW site password-unprotected for comments.

So if you want to comment, you are welcome - please do so.


Wes Strickland

We should remember that there was a National Water Commission in the early 1970s, and it concluded that water laws and policies were historically and best controlled at the state and local levels. I think much the same rationale applies today. However, there may be value in a national-level policy document that (1) sets forth clear and transparent policies to guide federal agency actions regarding water and (2) describes prudent water resource policies that could be implemented at the state and local levels, even though there is no compulsion. I am skeptical that we could truly reach consensus on a high-level water policy for the US. For example, for every water expert who argues for full cost pricing and use of economic incentives for rational resource protection (such as me), there is an advocate for providing water utility services free to all citizens based on tax collections, as a fundamental human right. I don't think a national policy will be possible that makes even all reasonable people happy.

Wes Strickland


Should the USA Have a National Water Vision? An Invitation to Comment … I find is so open ended so as to invite one to write a response which may turn into a small book.
For me the question is more accurately phrased do “we” … that’s you and me … actually want a national water vision…? I find that before we can honestly make that assessment “we” need full, open, timely, honest disclosure and transparency about all aspects surrounding water. It is here where “we” encounter the first of the many obstacles and barriers deliberately placed to keep “us” from obtaining full, open, timely, honest disclosure and transparency about all aspect of our water.
Lacking honest disclosure and transparency, the decisions and choices presented are most often cleverly camouflaged to keep us from seeing the invisible hand of for-profit-corporate-interest$ purchasing and manufacturing the proof required to have “us” unwittingly endorse water policies most often not in our better long term interest.
I submit anyone who has actual hands-on experience and been a part of any endeavor seeking to attain honest “buy-in” from you and me (the public), is aware of how time-consuming and at times utterly frustrating this process truly is. I my more than 30 years dealing as a citizen with government regulators in numerous rules making endeavors, this is not a process into which any governmental agency willingly enters. And my experience is government will not spend the time nor make the investment to develop a policy under this format.
So for me the question posed leading into this article is from the perspective and background of the AWRA either naive or a bit disingenuous. I do not mock AWRA, I seek only to understand, what AWRA position is respecting providing to “we” … the people … full, open, honest, timely disclosure and transparency respecting all aspects of our water…? AWRA membership is as I read from your website limited and does not to my understanding include the “unwashed” ie … John Q Public…? Correct…?
So, who then does AWRA see inviting to their table to assist them to develop their version of a national water vision …? Should AWRA reply, “we” – the people – I ask then for your assessment of the time such an endeavor will require…? I want to believe, but call me a doubting-thomas as organizations while their intentions may be noble are not established nor operated to permit the luxury of inclusion which invites the “people” as a valued partner in developing a national water vision.

Paul F Miller

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