A lot of people are still stunned that our Sun Belt neighbor Texas was caught in a freeze so deep that even the greatest energy production in the country couldn’t help it.

Why, indeed, were millions without power and even water? The fingers point in many directions, especially at the power companies.

This is an easy enough answer, at least if it ignores the role of government in regulating the power companies.

The lesson in the Texas freeze-out is not the irony of the situation, what with all that energy but no power. The lesson is that bad policy hurts people and that bad policy can hurt even when the resources are ample to prevent that pain.

Does the Texas power fiasco offer any lessons for Arizona? It might, though not directly relating to power. The top issue in Arizona is always water. The state doesn’t have enough of it. A dry water year will make it worse.

In this scenario, a very realistic one, wouldn’t the consequences of bad policy prove even more dire than they did in a state with enough resources to buffer the damage?

Arizonans better hope not because Arizona’s policies are insufficient to the challenge of limited water resources.

Arizona doesn’t really have bad water policy. It just has few water policies. Outside of the metro areas, virtually any land owner can drill a well and suck out as much water as desired. Inside the metro areas, it’s proving to be okay to reach to the Colorado River to buy up the water rights from those near the river.

These topics — groundwater and Colorado River water sales — were the subjects of bills proposed by State Rep. Regina Cobb, the Kingman Republican, this year. They never got a hearing. Similar bills didn’t get a hearing last year. At this point, a betting person might say it’s unlikely they’ll be heard next year.

None of those bills, if enacted, would represent a full solution to state water issues. Not by a long shot. They would, if heard, begin a long and necessary political dialogue about how to assure limited water supplies are used for the biggest benefit possible.

The metro area lawmakers and the agricultural and land developer interests don’t want to talk about it.

It’s good they want to keep their heads in the sand because without addressing both surface water and ground water, sand is all that will remain.

Or they can just be optimistic, hoping nothing will go wrong with a water management approach not significantly changed in more than 40 years.

What can go wrong? Please don’t ask Texas.

— Today’s News-Herald


(1) comment


We have no water yet huge data centers are being proposed in the valley that each use the equivalent amount of water as the entire population of LHC, and SRP is telling them they have plenty of water for this use. Maybe someone should really examine what our water needs will be before these giant water users are approved.

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