Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The General Plan must be a polygamist...

I come to the conclusion referred to in the title of this post because it seems many locals are married to either the county General Plan or the Kingman GP (in many cases both).

Here is something that I'm seeing quite a bit of in comments on the local interwebz...

per the Mohave County General Plan, page 38 section 3.5 clearly states that when an Aquifer is in depletion all Power Plants are to be DRY COOLED.

Obviously the subject matter the above is referring to is regarding the proposed solar plant north of Kingman.

I'm going to stick with the General Plan stuff in this post, mainly, but I wanted to share some other writings noticed that are critical of economic development. I think they are entertaining.

I truly feel that this SOLAR PLANT should be a total DRY SOPAR PLANT without using any water whats so ever. If they need water, go down to the Colorado River & dry that up....

NIMBY alert.

To the deluded: What are you going to drink when the water's gone? Government can't mandate it, and electricity won't fix it.

When, I say when, WHEN will the water be gone?? I keep asking but no one on that side of the argument will even offer an answer... or a guess. Just an ignorant scare tactic.

We need to control the kind of new developement that comes into our county or we all will be living next to a steam turbine plant.

And/or wind turbines (remember that one??). Seen that scare tactic before and it is still very ignorant.

Those fighting for the best use of the county's water seem to be aired in a bad light, I strongly feel these people should be listened to. Water is gold, the county needs to treat it as so. At some point the county needs to start looking at water as THE only growth issue and stop thinking only about money that can be made today. With no water there will be no growth. The county needs to start thinking of the future with no water instead of only thinking of the present possible growth. It's about the BLUE not the GREEN right now. Without the BLUE there will be no green, no matter how you look at it.

Lot's of 'BLUE' under our feet, but no 'GREEN' in our wallets right now. Also the fighting for the best use of the county's water is a misnomer. The county does not own the water, however property owners are subject to acquiring a water allocation granted to them by the state. And in this particular case, the state has already granted the current property owner a much larger water allocation than what the solar plant intends to use. Not to mention the fact that the solar plant in question is currently exploring the idea of using effluent as its main water supply. Oh yes.

The developers have requested 4,000 acre feet per year. Do you honestly believe that these highly paid lobbyist tell you the TRUTH! Plllleeeeaaassseeeee.. they will (and do) tell you ANYTHING to manipulate you into ignoring the FACTS. [Deleted]! Thank GOD that the majority of this citizenship know the TRUTH and have reacted accordingly. If the BOS approves this project despite the facts before them there will be a recall. Citizens groups are lawyering up just like the big boys do and they should expect a hard and cruel counter attack. This community has had enough of the corruption and the lack of protection of our water supply by the elected elitist. Lets face it folks our tax dollars are being eaten up by the favoritism and idiotic decisions made by these power junkies! ITS TIME FOR THIS COMMUNITY TO KICK THESE LIARS OUT!

Like I said, high entertainment.

To use my scissors for just a second for this one... just what facts are before 'them'?? Does someone have an estimate to how much water is left and at what rate the all the water is used up... and if so... when?? It is a prevailing question that I have yet it goes completely unanswered.

I'd love to see these water worry warts 'lawyer' up like they say. I'm not sure how many lawyers will take this case on pro bono. And the folks that want to kick the liars out ought to be careful with statements like that, at the very least should spend a moment in front of the mirror. So far all I've seen is rhetoric from the anti-economic development types... and not very convincing.

Getting back to the Mohave County General Plan now it is time to cut and paste, first up from Chapter 1 'Introduction' item A 'Purpose'...

This General Plan provides a basis to guide decision-makers. It is a statement of community values, ideals and aspirations about the best management of the natural and built environments. In addition to defining the County's view of its future, the General Plan describes actions to take to achieve the desired future. The Plan uses text and diagrams to establish policies and programs to address the many issues facing the County. The Plan is thus a tool for managing community change to achieve the desired quality of life. The current document represents a revision of the original plan adopted in 1995 and has reaffirmed, and in some cases reassessed, the values, ideals and aspirations of the community.

Just like I thought, the GP is a guide... and not a governing document (like an ordinance or state statute). It is also a document that has been revised and otherwise changed on numerous occasions.

Further found in the same chapter but under item C 'Effects'...

Planning is an ever changing process -- not the adoption of a particular document. Rather, it is an ongoing process involving the actions by the County, the private sector, other public and quasi-public agencies, and the community-at-large. As conditions change, the County's Plan should be amended to take advantage of new opportunities and respond to new needs. Thus, the General Plan is not intended to be a static document; it is intended to be a dynamic guide to help citizens shape the County's future.

More of the same describing the fact that the GP is NOT a static document, it is intending to change as needs and conditions change.

Now moving on to chapter 2 'Vision of the Future'...

What should Mohave County be like in the future? Collectively, the following major planning concepts define a vision for Mohave County's future -- a future on which the goals of each individual Plan Elements are based. This ideal future is one that reflects economic growth and development, as well as a high quality of life for all residents. It is a future in which Mohave County retains its environmental quality and capitalizes on its wealth of natural, built and human resources.

Just how married are the water worry warts to the GP after reading something like the above I wonder?? They are after all using a document for one line that appears in the GP, yet a great deal of the document speaks to the above... i.e. economic development and quality of life.

Face it, my quality of life issue trumps their quality of life issue and I can prove it. Right now I can open the valve to my water basin and water flows freely... right now it is awfully tough to find economic opportunity in this area. The GP mentions water, but it also mentions economic opportunity quite a bit as you'll see below...

Promote Beneficial Economic Growth, Development and Renewal. Mohave County should strive to create a supportive climate for business in its governmental operations and reach its full economic potential without sacrificing the character of its communities and natural resources that attract this growth.

The water worry warts have been against economic growth and each and every issue, and extra so on any issue involving private property rights. It is the abundant availability of sunlight and water (natural resources) that is attracting a new economic growth opportunity.

But this next one may make the water worry warts feel all warm and fuzzy...

Water in Perpetuity. Mohave County’s economic growth and well being of its residents is directly linked to a long-term and stable water supply. The County must encourage growth that is respectful of its water resources.

A-HA!! They got a point on this one, right?? I imagine that this passage isn't as objective as the anti-economic development types wish it was. While I'd agree that our community should be respectful of its known water sources, respectful could have many definitions. Including using the vast (13 million acre feet) resources of water to help with economic growth and the eventual discovery of new water resources.

This next stuff comes from chapter 3 'Context for Planning' item A 'Introduction'...

This General Plan defines what Mohave County hopes to be in the year 2020.

Oh yes... hopes to be.

Sorta implies that the document is only good for another 10.5 years. Cutting through all the water worry warts rhetoric and it is very difficult to tell if they have proof that a solar power plant, and the rest of the current population, will use all the 13 million acre feet of water by then. Maybe they will have something substantiated at some point that leads to that conclusion, but I doubt it.

So now let's check out more of what the GP says about the subject of water, this comes from Chapter 5 'Resource Conservation' item 2 'Water Quantity and Quality'...

This section is based on Growing Smarter Plus legislation that requires counties with more than 125,000 persons to address: 1) currently available surface and subsurface water supplies as well as effluent quantities, and 2) analyzes how future growth will be adequately served by existing water sources and how new water sources will be obtained. Additional information about distribution systems is provided in the Public Infrastructure Element.

The quantity and quality of surface water and groundwater have a significant impact on the growth potential and quality of life in Mohave County. In addition to their valuable recreational and aesthetic contributions, water resources are essential for domestic use, irrigation and economic development. These resources must be protected to maintain the environmental and economic health of Mohave County.

Another reference to economic health. Further down under 'Key Water Issues'...

Water Availability. Information on the use and availability of water should be monitored. While there appears to be enough water to meet anticipated demands in the rapidly urbanizing parts of the County for the next 40 to 50 years, long term water planning throughout the County will require better information than is currently available. Development of a Countywide water budget that identifies water supplies and demands for identified groundwater basin subareas will enable the County to use its water resources most efficiently

Right here in the GP it states that there is enough water to meet the needs of the community for the next 40 to 50 years (a conservative estimate based on reports I've seen and blogged about), and also states that more information is needed for longer term planning... you know, more than 50 years out.

The following from 'Water Quantity and Quality Goals and Policies'...

Goal 3: To preserve the quantity and quality of water resources, in perpetuity, through out the County.

Fine that is the goal, but have you looked up the word 'perpetuity' lately?? Are we saying that the only water resource we'll ever have, for all eternity, will be from the three aquifers?? Hilarious.

Now for the policy statements...

Policy 3.1 Mohave County should cooperate with ADEQ, local water suppliers, and other agencies to maintain a water budget that inventories the quantity and quality of the County's water resources, identifies how those resources are being used, and
monitors commitments for future water use.

Policy 3.2 The County should support programs to monitor groundwater quality and well levels.

Policy 3.3 Mohave County should encourage the efficient use of water resources through educational efforts.

I'm surprised that policy 3.3 doesn't say that the county should encourage the efficient use of water resources by taking away every property owners property rights. That is exactly what the water worry warts and anti economic development types are hoping for. Good thing for them that the GP isn't a static document... perhaps they can request to make that a change in policy.

Policy 3.4 New water intensive uses such as golf courses and man-made lakes shall require the use of treated effluent where and when available.

But not required if treated effluent is not available?? Ambiguous.

Policy 3.5 Mohave County will only approve power plants using “dry cooling” technology when the aquifer is threatened by depletion or subsidence.

Ah yes... here it is again. Clearly stated, right?? But since when is a policy a law?? Just asking. I mean look again at policy 3.4... if treated effluent isn't available, does that preclude the opening of a new golf course?? Not definitive according to this documents policy. I'm only guessing here, but if a new golf course was planned in the county and the government decided to allow it, even without treated effluent, they wouldn't be breaking any laws or statutes would they?? They'd simply be defying policy. Policy that can be amended.

So if the county supervisors were to look at the solar project and see potential for new tax revenues they otherwise wouldn't get... you know to help pay for schools, roads, and other community services... they could break with the policy and not break any laws or statutes... right?? It wouldn't surprise me to see the elected leaders do that... especially when they have time on their side (according to the General Plan, i.e. 40 to 50 years worth of water being referenced).

In summary...

So what have we learned here?? Only that the General Plan is a document that was meant to use a a guide, but isn't to be used as a static plan... in other words it can be (and has been) changed. Especially in light of promoting economic development.

In regards to water there are some written policies, but nothing noted in the form of laws or statutes.

Plus we've learned that the water worry warts are most likely full of shit (pardon my French).

Makes me wonder why so many water worry warts seem to be so enamored with such a document when it offers them nothing that makes their argument with the exception of one policy... one policy that can be amended legally... or simply ignored in favor of the economic benefits that new opportunity brings.

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