Why should I conserve just so those other guys can have the water?

This story is a bit of a garble, but it illustrates one of the central challenges in making water conservation deals in the Colorado River Basin.

Here’s how I explained it in my book:

Within the network of state and water-agency representatives working on Colorado River Basin problems, there is a clear recognition that eventually some sort of “grand bargain” will be needed that finds a way to reduce everyone’s water allocation. To keep the system from crashing, everyone will have to give something up. But each of the participants in that core network also understands the dilemma that follows: each must then go home and sell the deal in a domestic political environment that views the river’s paper water allocations as a God-given right.

The story describes a Glendale City Council discussion of leaving water in Lake Mead, at which one of that community’s elected representatives said this:

“We are conserving water only for it to be consumed by other states,” said Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff.