Don't Build Water Nuke

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 29, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Special thanks go to Austin Chronicle Publisher Nick Barbaro for his compelling “Page Three” [Sept. 25] editorial pointing out that we don’t really have the water to put into the billion-dollar treatment plant the Austin Water Utility wants to build.
    The same day Barbaro’s column was published, the Lower Colorado River Authority issued a press release reporting that inflows to the Highland Lakes over the last two years were 400,000 acre-feet less than the average inflows during our historic record drought of the 1950s. By comparison, Austin currently uses about 160,000 acre-feet of water.
    The climate change models tell us that our region will be drier. LCRA’s past projections of “reliable” water ignore both current and future realities. We should be comforted by the idea that we can shift our economy to much greater water efficiency with community engagement and limited, cost-effective investments. But the time to act is now. Instead, our Water Utility and mayor are racing in the opposite direction, insisting on building a billion-dollar water plant that assumes we will have all the water that we want to waste for decades into the future. Water rates will skyrocket to pay for this boondoggle.
    It really is time for our council and our city manager to find new leadership for the Water Utility – leaders that will work hand-in-hand with Austin Energy to make Austin a leader in water and energy efficiency and sustainability. Building a water nuke we don’t need and cannot afford won’t put a single additional drop of water into the Highland Lakes.
Bill Bunch
Save Our Springs Alliance
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