They have a saying in California: “Water will get you elected and water will get you fired.” Welcome to Spokane, Calif. Water rates go up, water use declines, progressive civic leadership fired. Water rates go down, everyone happy – except the fish, and they don’t vote.
Regrettably, the political dais is occupied by short-term thinkers who do not believe or care that increased water consumption will lead to the demise of a healthy Spokane River. The hydraulic connectivity between aquifer and the river? Scientific claptrap. Climate change impacts on water supply and ecosystems? A United Nations plot. Water rates that encourage conservation? Purely evil social engineering.
The current crop of electeds seem incapable of looking ahead a few decades, when Idaho mountain snowpack will be half what it is today, with climate refugees at the door and the city’s antiquated water mains in wreckage. No, our public officials are busy ensuring that, for today, city lawns and civic golf courses remain lush and green.
Spokane has spoken, at least for the moment. Inevitably, though, the future will look back and ask, what on earth were they thinking?