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Water Law

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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Water Law Reply with quote

When we find we have conflicts about politics and political parties, I often find that the divide comes down to a set of deep assumptions about how the world is and how it should be. In my view, these assumptions can be very difficult to articulate clearly, or, more commonly, difficult to even recognize.

In considering the importance of water to the human endeavor, I propose that all political parties can find common ground by embracing the centrality of water as a basis for organizing our societies and legal systems.

It would be all too easy to overgeneralize, based on my limited knowledge of how water is treated in different localities, but in my limited view, there is a rough consensus in the US that protecting the supply and flow of water transcends market forces, and even personal liberty and property rights. We generally would not long tolerate a water monopoly using monopoly power to gain unfair advantages over a population. Water is the ultimate 'social good', a basic human right that I deem beyond question. While they may not be perfect, I have to believe that other urban areas also make provision for people that somehow cannot pay for water. The exceptions (the homeless, rural areas, deserts, bankrupt municipalities, etc.) deserve more discussion, but not right now.

If ever there was an area that was a legitimate one for government, and the threat of using government force to enforce laws, water is it. I consider it ahead, even, of national defense, as the basis for law, because the protection of "water law" is the first reason that the society is deserving of defense.

Water is primarily regional (the watershed), but also intensely local. In visiting the "Rainbow Gathering" on numerous occasions many years ago, I found myself humbled and amazed by the preparation and practices of those who chose to establish the water infrastructure. The Gathering is an annual event, set up in a different national forest every year, in which 10-20,000 people arrive over a 3-4 week period, culminating in a July 4th celebration. Protecting the water supply and providing for sanitation, all while leaving the site in good condition afterward really points up how a self-regulating, temporary settlement can be set up. Even in such an anti-establishment environment, a "water police" would have instant legitimacy.

Meanwhile, I hope I've cast my argument in such terms that a libertarian would also find the notion of "socialized water" and the centrality of "water law" to be indisputable.

Maybe if we first cast our political differences through the "prism" of water, we can find common assumptions and clarity on our differences. We may wish to reorganize our political boundaries around watersheds, and re-form our systems of laws to recognize the lessons of water, and the centrality of "water law" as the basis for organizing our societies.
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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Water Infrastructure: The Unseen Crisis

When most of us think of infrastructure, we probably think of bridges, roads, trains and fiber optic cable--the visible circulatory system of a society that moves goods, services and knowledge from one point to another. But we now face new challenges brought on by unprecedented population growth that require us to rethink how we define and address the issue of global infrastructure.

[I cited Brian Hansen and YRIHF in a comment response to the Huffpo article, republished here

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