Saturday, November 20, 2004

Greed goeth before a fall

Unfortunately, this is all too often the response even when someone realizes the magnitude of the problems we face.


Los Angeles County has been forced to import water from the very beginning and, as population growth continues unabated, it is getting more and more difficult to find supplies.

A small water district in northern Los Angeles County has been a lone voice warning that water supplies in the Santa Clarita area could disappear with rapid housing development.

The agency is in danger of disappearing because it's challenge to rapid growth has rubbed people the wrong way.

The county's Local Agency Formation Commission, which oversees hundreds of municipal boards, including Newhall, is proposing that the water district be dissolved because its service area overlaps those of neighboring water agencies.

The commission's officials believe the change would make water service more efficient and less confusing to customers. But Newhall board members contend the move is nothing more than a transparent attempt to muzzle them.

"They are overstating the water supply, and they want to shut us up," said board member Lynne Plambeck.

Water is a hot-button issue in the semi-rural Santa Clarita Valley 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, where tens of thousands of houses, including the 20,885-home Newhall Ranch, are to be built in the next decade.

Plambeck believes the valley's water plan encourages over-pumping of the Santa Clarita River aquifer and offers an unrealistic picture of future allocations from the California Aqueduct.

The commission is scheduled to consider the proposal to dissolve the Newhall County Water District on Nov. 30.


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