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Voice: ‘Negative humorous' columns don't help water situation

November 17, 2001

One of our more famous newspaper editors likened fallowing to a Hollywood movie where the bad guy keeps getting beat up and taken for dead but miraculously keeps coming back. He says that following is like that. It is a bad idea that just won't go away.

The trouble I have with this approach is that he does not offer a solution or even recognize the problem.

We share a water right with 17 million people and we are in a battle over that water. The Metropolitan Water District needs some water because they are losing over half of their Colorado River water. We have a superior right to that water, but they have the political power. There are only 150,000 of us.

We also need to think about what happened in 1992. Toward the end of a seven-year drought, it was published in the paper that in a water shortage emergency the governor had the power to reallocate the waters of the state. He would have the authority to give domestic water a higher priority than ag water. He could put people ahead of Sudan grass.

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Another point is that our water contracts with the state and federal governments say that our water has to be put to reasonable and beneficial use. I don't think that we are wasting water, but we are running a million acre-feet of water to the Salton Sea every year. If the 17 million on the coast run short of water and we are not trying to help, we could be challenged.

The San Diego transfer would be an attempt to make us more efficient and reduce the flow of water to the sea. That effort, however, would hasten the death of the Salton Sea and make it almost impossible to save. That could trigger a bunch of lawsuits that could put some dents in our armor.

Fallowing looks like a solution if we can take care of the third-party impacts. We could transfer some water to the coast and help save the sea and buy some peace, all at the same time.

I fought against fallowing several years ago, but the problems have changed and so have the solutions. Fallowing can work for everybody, if we all work together to create more jobs than we lose.

I don't think negative humorous editorials will get the job done.

DON COX

Brawley

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