Pat Mulroy is one of the most interesting people in Western Water right now. As the General Manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, she’s the one responsible for getting Las Vegas the water it needs. Or, more precisely, the water it says it thinks it needs. Michael Campana had an interesting comment recently, though, about the fundamental disconnect that lies at the heart of Mulroy’s job:
Many people demonize Pat Mulroy. The fact is, she does her job extremely well – too well for some. Land use ultimately drives water use, and she does not make land-use policy; the politicians do. But as long as the elected officials in southern Nevada buy into growth and more growth, she will find the water.
You see this disconnect over and over across the West – water managers bound and determined to get the water their growing communities need, without a mechanism for feedback in the system. There eventually will, of course, be a mechanism for feedback (let’s call it the Barnett Feedback Loop), it’s just a question of how ugly it will be be.