C.J. Brooks, a Tucson water geek and author of the “Watering the Desert Blog”, talks about the linkage between land use planning and water in Nevada. Washoe County has done the sort of thing advocates around here have been talking about ever since I started thinking seriously about water issues (and likely for a lot longer than that). Brooks quotes an article from Water Strategist discussing the initiative:
The measure requires the amendment of the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan (“TMRP”) to require future land use and water requirements in the county are in balance.
The practical impact is to have regional planners plan for 200,000 more people in the county for a total of 600,000 persons based on current water use and available water.
Brooks has concerns about the “what happens next” part, suggesting that this may do a better job of creating work for lawyers than it will in aiding water and land use planning efforts:
The Washoe County initiative makes no reference to supply augmentation, merely referring to “identified and sustainable water resources” available in the county. That could be interpreted to place a pretty firm cap on future growth under one possible interpretation. Look for lots of litigation to spring from this measure in the future.
Bottom line (to borrow Zetland’s trick): It is a good idea to link land use planning to water availability, but you’ve got to do it right.