Letter to the Editor: In response to well rules approved

In your Saturday, March 16, 2019 article “Judge Approves Well Rules,” I read the statement “the state would continue gathering and incorporating additional data to refine the model.” This has been the state’s assertion for at least ten years. Has the court’s earlier determinations of the RGDSS groundwater model’s appropriateness created inertia and complacence for unresolved issues on private and public lands? I’m referring to the effects of pumping on Spring Creek in the Monte Vista Refuge, McIntire Springs, Diamond Springs, formerly perennial springs and streams on BLM and private lands as well as the reduced flows on rim-flow streams. The state has not given credence to personal or generational observations and experience in the model’s domain (valley floor) or the boundary regions (mountains and foothills). This leaves the development of the model to conveniently biased assumptions except for an engineering study here and there. Reliable data is not going to simply show up. Not seeking reliable data is a poor excuse for the model’s gaps, especially when there was a ten-year lapse in the state’s response to known concerns. Preferring conveniently biased assumptions over investigation for facts allows government to provide long-term financial security to compliant employees that private enterprise does not offer. When assumptions fall short, private business suffers or fails. Asking questions is an essential beginning to sorting complexities. 

Maybe the new state engineer will be bold enough to ask why there is such low confidence in the model among those restless SLV souls who have been waiting and waiting and waiting.

Changes in farming practices beginning in the l960s and 70s required the pumping of wells to run center pivot sprinklers. The use of center pivots increased consumptive use and production by 50 to 100 percent. This was a much heavier burden on our aquifers at the same time the state was issuing more well permits on already over-appropriated aquifers. This was at the expense of surface water rights, which the state claims to protect. During meetings prior to the promulgation of rules, a reduced availability of water from snowpack and precipitation was not a consideration in sustainability: I asked that question so I remember the response.

Compliance with the system (Perry Alspaugh called it “the machine”) may secure a career, but denial of its negative effect on others has later consequences.

The Guy in the Glass

by Dale Wimbrow, (c)  1934

When you get what you want in your struggle for self

And the world makes you king for a day

Then go to the mirror and look at yourself

And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife,

Who judgment upon you must pass.     

The feller whose verdict counts most in your life     

Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,

For he’s with you clear up to the end,

And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test

If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,

And think you’re a wonderful guy,

But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum

If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,

And get pats on the back as you pass,

But your final reward will be heartaches and tears

If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

Peggy Godfrey