Fisher just ASSUMES that their is a water crisis on the Palouse but offers no proof other than a quote from a raving anti-everythinger
and a letter to the editor. He makes no mention at all of the science conducted by the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee that has concluded there is no consistent trend in aquifer levels. Nope. According to Fisher, there's a water crisis, so therefore Queen Nancy and the Moscow City Council are right and the Greater Moscow Alliance and WSU are wrong. Fisher also left out the rest of the GMA ad which states that "Forward thinking on water means a smart conservation plan, cooperation with neighboring communities, sound research to identify the extent of our situation, and creative ways to use surface water." Fisher is an unabashed left winger, but he often does make salient points and is not afraid to sometimes go against conventional liberal groupthink. But he should be ashamed of this pathetic propagandistic defense of Queen Nancy.
The Washington State University administration should have seen this embarrassment coming. After many years looking for ways to conserve Palouse water across campus, WSU's prodigality in irrigating its new golf course has become an issue in the Moscow City Council election.
That prodigality is being used by pro-growth candidates as evidence that concern for declining water supply is no reason to limit development.
"Water? The anti-growth politicians are all wet," the headline on a newspaper ad supporting candidates Dan Carscallen, Wayne Krauss and Walter Steed reads. Carscallen, Krauss and Steed are running with the endorsement of the Greater Moscow Alliance to counteract the current city council's reluctance to authorize new big box stores and new big water users.
"What does Moscow's current city leadership know that water experts and neighboring communities don't?" the ad asks. "In Pullman they're developing a new golf course. In Moscow we've raised water rates to cut consumption. Soon we'll be cutting down water-starved trees."
Last week, during a candidate forum sponsored by the Moscow Chamber of Commerce, Krauss also pointed to the WSU course as he said he objected to "the idea for us to try to save water here in Moscow so it can be used downstream."
WSU's new 18-hole course, which will replace the school's former nine-hole course, will indeed use a lot of water, at least for the first two or three years of operation after it opens next year. The school plans to employ a water-reclamation system to use treated wastewater for irrigation, as the University of Idaho already does at places like its aboretum, but it is awaiting money for the project and predicts it won't be online for up to three years.
In the meantime, WSU is already pouring gallon after gallon of water on the course's new turf.
It is not doing that with the unanimous consent of the Pullman community, however. Several Pullman residents have raised vocal objections to the school's determination to move ahead with the course before the water-saving system is in place. One, Cheryl Morgan, has accused the school of displaying "unconscionable disregard" for its neighbors in doing so.
WSU administrators might prefer that, however, to politicians from nearby Moscow using their extravagance as reason not to safeguard water, and to elect policy makers who will pursue growth with scant regard for the region's aquifers. It makes them look less like leaders of a center of enlightenment than just another set of property developers.
Contributing to that appearance was a Sept. 4 letter to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News from U.S. Department of Agriculture employee Wayne Olson of Moscow. Lamenting WSU's failure to find alternatives to high water use at its new golf course, Olsen asked if it were possible for the school to "think a little more outside the box, do a little research here, at a research institution?"