Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Some Essential Elements of Water Conservation
Summing up, conservation program funds should go first to anyone proposing, as a court ordered mandate or a state or local order or policy decision, to permanently reduce real, actual water use in areas formally closed to new water development. This is where the most conservation will occur. It's mostly a matter of common sense. If you're really interested in water conservation, what good does it do to reduce water use where anyone can subsequently develop new uses? Why reduce phantom water use or water rights - whether you pay for the reduction or not?
These points should be considered carefully as we all look to next year's offering of the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) by NRCS. AWEP is part of the 2008 Farm Bill authorized to assist ag producers in implementing agricultural water activities on agricultural land for the purposes of conserving surface and groundwater. One of its stated goals is to help producers meet state and local regulations or the interstate compact compliance mandates of the courts relative to water conservation. A careful look at last year's program, which doled out $57 million dollars for such conservation efforts, doesn't seem to fit much of my common sense priorities. I'm hoping the 2010 program will do better.