But the reason I'm astonished is that just a couple of years ago I sat in on meetings of the committee that was trying to develop land use planning for Jasper County. One of the rather useless series of meetings they held dealt with water. Speakers were present who represented well-drilling companies. They assured us all that this area was, well, awash in water. They seemed sure that we would never face any water shortage in our lifetime. Of course, the sub-theme of their comments was, "So you better not do any of this land-use planning stuff and try to tell us we can't keep poking new wells in the aquifer anywhere and anytime we please." The good people of Jasper County agreed and voted against any land use planning of any kind.
Now here is this nasty water shortage facing us. Are there a variety of ways we could respond to the impending shortage? Maybe we could consider some conservation of the water we have? Maybe we could place some reasonable limits on developement, perhaps by adopting Smart Growth policies? Maybe we could do a study of the largest water users in the area - might they be places like Butterball or area contract growers of poultry? - and see what policies might force them to use water more conservatively? Could we look at how much water gets used on area golf courses and consider limiting that?
No, apparently we can't consider any of those things. The one and only thing we can do is to dam up our beautiful streams and create reservoirs. The need to continue uncontrolled "development" is so absolute that we mustn't stop to ask questions about the ecological harm caused by turning a flowing stream into a stagnant lake, or the liklihood that people who don't want to sell their property to create these reservoirs will have it condemned and be forced to sell. As always, personal rights and environmental integrity will have to be sacrificed to the god of Growth.