full disclosure vs behind closed doors

Perspective for your consideration …
What does it look like when it’s fixed…?

Published: 10.06.2008….Developers may win 50%-rain rule…By Tony Davis …
Arizona Daily Star- excerpted – … Standing at the entrance to the new West Side office of Southwest Hazard Control, an environmental-cleanup firm, are 11 corrugated metal tanks, all 8 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter. (equal about 1,600 gallons/each container)…After the West Grant Road site’s native mesquites and yuccas and the South American jacaranda trees become established in a year or two, every drop of their irrigation water will come from the tanks. … On Oct. 14, the Tucson City Council will vote on an ordinance to require new commercial developments to harvest rainwater. If it’s approved, most of those affected likely won’t go that far. The proposal, supported by the city’s staff and an advisory committee, mandates that 50 percent of a development’s landscaping water must be from rainfall. … That’s down from a proposed 75 percent that the committee had endorsed last spring and from some environmentalists’ original hope for 100 percent. … But all factions involved agree that a 50 percent ordinance still would put the city in the vanguard. It would bring water conservation one more step toward the foreground during a drought that many scientists say threatens the city’s long-term supply of Colorado River water, backers say. … “When people typically think of rainwater harvesting, they think of corrugated metal tanks next to the house. … The water-harvesting system there costs a little over $1 per gallon of stored water, he said, compared with an estimate from the business-backed Metropolitan Pima Alliance of $2 to $4 per gallon for a cistern system…. every site needs to be considered separately, and the city should give incentives such as permit-fee waivers to encourage harvesting. … Another desert reality that must be considered is that some areas get more rain than others during a storm, she said. … “We don’t want to create an ordinance that puts an onerous financial burden upon people,” … “We’re trying to find that spot where we can use this untapped resource of rainwater in an economical and efficient way.” …… a few months ago, the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association had criticized as unfair another committee recommendation to make gray-water plumbing mandatory in new homes, because existing homes use far more water. The recommendation became law last month after SAHBA withdrew its objection.

My heart wants me to rise to salute this effort on the part of Tucson, while my head urges restraint, the dichotomy surrounding my ability to trust government. I hold no degree or notoriety in – water conservation – what I know I have learn primarily from the “school-of-hard-knocks” and my life experiences.

Taken solely at its face value, the Tucson proposal mandating a min 50% of landscaping water must come from rainfall can be seen as appreciably challenging. I must note that Tucson has historically shown a far more honoring understanding of water usage than is demonstrated daily by the environs of the Phoenix metropolis. What type of landscaping will emerge from this conservation position is yet to manifest. It is easy for me to approve of this action on the part of Tucson as I do not live there and therefore will be only minimally, if at all, impacted.

My concern lies in the action taken by the officials in Pima County and Tucson to mandate the installation of greywater plumbing in all new homes. As many of you are aware, I fully support an honestly promulgated greywater program developed in an environment of full and open disclosure and discussion. Unfortunately that was not the environment which Karen L. Smith, then the Director of the Water Quality Division of ADEQ permitted in 2005, when the current rules and regulation affecting the design, installation and O&M of all greywater systems were implemented. Under her tutelage the current rules and regulation surrounding greywater are not realistic and are designed to be normally unenforceable. The notion of public health was “kicked to the curb” and summarily dismissed. This is a slippery slope and path upon which we have embarked respecting greywater installations in our state.

Water harvesting and greywater are two sides of the same coin – water conservation – and depending upon the use and the manner of dispersal of the liquid, this require thoughtful contemplation respecting the long term health implications to man.

Or is this scene we are witnessing just another “band-aid” or feel-good placebo government is using to CYA and the water policies and practices they continue to choose to develop and implement principally behind closed doors…?

And let me be even a bit bolder, I am most willing to present and discuss any water issue before any audience in Arizona where open full disclosure and two way dialog is permitted.

… People should never be afraid of their government, government should always be afraid of the people …

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