Water Is … Development?

By looking at the incredible boom in building development in Goleta, one would never know that there was a critical local and state-wide resource scarcity: water.

Let’s be honest with ourselves: We are not yet serious about sustainability. If we were, then we wouldn’t continue to blindly promote the paradigm of endless growth as the model way to keep our economic system humming.

“Saved” water, squeezed from existing users either by “voluntary conservation” or by emergency ordinance, will serve only to free up water to be given to new shopping and hotel and residential developments. It’s a seemingly never ending and accepted requirement of perpetual growth. Except, of course, growth surely will end when we can’t pray, or hope, or desal, or conserve, or import any more water. This is where Montecito is finding itself now, after approving 500 new water meters — with no water to supply them. And imagine how many farmers would love to have that promised water, just to survive.

During the drought in the late ‘80s, when there was a development moratorium, I had to wait to move my family to Goleta until someone else moved out first. If that scenario is the only way we can preserve our precious, uncrowded, and lovely community from the unsustainable development that we are now experiencing, then I will pray for a continued lack of rain. And I will use as much water as I can possibly justify.

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