Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Water Is For Fightin' 

The Colorado River is at all-time lows because of drought, and seven states are gearing to fight for their share of the water.  It will be ugly and divisive.  Each state has its own set of publics to satisfy and their citizens aren't necessarily ready to stop watering lawns and golf courses and allow swimming pools to lie empty, nor are they ready to take showers on alternate days or run the dish washer only two times a week.  But, someone will have to do that.  There is less water, and there is no practical way to produce it from the sea.  The pushing and shoving over who gets how many acre-feet will pit population centers against Indian tribes, farmers against urbanites.  Courts have stepped in before to adjudicate water issues between states.  They might have to step in again.  The ideals of public relations break down when there is a shortage of basic needs.  It is every man for himself.  Yet, the only way the issue can be settled is for the publics of all seven states to recognize that they must restrain themselves a little for the common good of everyone.  That is a PR program I would like to see, but it won't happen.

I want to talk to my PR students about the tragedy of the commons; this is a great example.

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