Governor Mike Easley has decided to come out of his shell and get guvmint to solve some problems. At Tuesday’s meeting of the Environmental Review Commission, Easley’s proxy, Franklin Freeman, presented the administration’s plan for dealing with the drought.
Whenever the government tries to "fix" a problem, the little guy needs to look out. In this case, the little guys are the owners of a private wells. Easley’s proposal would give local water systems the authority to force conservation measures on private well owners.
This is a dangerous maneuver designed to ensure that everyone suffers due to the drought. This kind of effort by the government to "equalize" the impact of the drought ignores the property rights of the well owners while appealing to the notion of "fairness" held by people that have had their access to water restricted by municipal agencies or private water utilities. While rumors of mandating meters on private wells have been circulating for the past few weeks, no steps were taken in that direction.
Despite the proposals to increase the power of government, there were some innovative recommendations too.
- For anyone who has spent a significant time on the high seas, the concept of "gray" water is not that unusual. The Navy does a great job of not using drinking water for any purpose other than human consumption. The Governor’s proposal would make it easier to use waste water from sinks and tubs for irrigation.
- Changing to market for water to remove the "bulk" discount for customers that use large amounts of water.
- Creating a sales tax holiday on water saving devices similar to the school supplies tax holiday.
This is just the initial effort on water conservation. Keep an eye peeled for more heavy handed guvmint "solutions."