Monday, March 18, 2013

Water, water anywhere?

Welcome. Come in out of the wind and warm up. Thanks for stopping by. What do you think, is this Winter's last hurrah for the 2012-2013 season? I believe it may be so. My wife has started to complain about birdsong waking her up over the weekend. Singing chickadee-dee-dees and snowflakes piled on branches bearing Spring's buds. That's My Minnesota for you. Have you ever thought about the fact that nature is constantly redesigning and rebuilding herself? Seasonal change is dominant in most of the country outside arctic and tropical areas. Darwin's had something to say about evolution and adaptation. Why then do you suppose it is that so many of us humans, especially in corporations and the public sector, are so resistant to change? Let Mikey try it. He won't like it. I noticed in a week old news article that I saw just today that DNR has asked the judge to dismiss the White Bear Lake citizens group suit against DNR for issuing ground water withdrawal permits inconsistent with Minnesota's environmental requirements. The part that really got under my skin was the statement that "the DNR argued in court Monday that the suit should be thrown out because local municipalities should be included as defendants..." I'm not a lawyer, but having other potentially guilty parties doesn't seem like an exoneration, nor, so far as I know, do municipalities get to issue their own water groundwater appropriations permits. According to their very own web site (checked about 5 PM this afternoon) "A water use (appropriation) permit from DNR Waters is required for all users withdrawing more than 10,000 gallons of water per day or 1 million gallons per year." As a further rant on my part, has the DNR never heard of, does it not believe in, the precautionary principle? I ask because elsewhere I found reference to a DNR staff member (among others) arguing that more data is needed to make the right decisions about groundwater use, in case that decision ends up in court. I'm not against more data. I'm against delaying decisions to proceed with some options that would be beneficial under all scenarios just because we don't have "enough data" to yield certainty. We have Water Conservation Law changes, effective last year, where the "deadline for compliance has also been pushed back to January 1, 2015." Minnesota, along with much of the Midwest, is experiencing drought, several parts of the state are suffering noticeable water shortages, but, God forbid, we move too quickly. My final question for today's rant: "What do you suppose it might take to create a sense of urgency in the public sector?" Thanks for letting me bend your ear. Stop back tomorrow. Rants (obviously) and raves, sometimes mixed with reflection, served daily.