Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Greensboro Water—plenty of Conversation and no Conservation!

The Water Resources Department no longer operates a Water Conservation (WC) program. It has no WC workers. All that remains is this phony phone number on the water web page: WATER CONSERVATION 373-2489 I called that number on January 29, 2009 and this is how it went.

(Listen to the audio clip)

After hearing this clip I think you will agree that Greensboro has no WC program and no WC workers. And that's odd because Greensboro is always complaining about not having enough water.
In the 90’s the City of Greensboro had a comprehensive Water Conservation (WC) effort that was identified as one of the nation’s TOP TEN PROGRAMS by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Water Conservation Office won EPA 1st place awards in 1996 and again in 1997. The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce awarded its 1996 Environmental Stewardship award to WC for reducing public water use during a period of rapid growth. For most of those 5 years Greensboro’s big WC effort was just one person—me—and then just before my unplanned departure I was finally allowed to hire a technician, Kristine Williams who just graduated from college.
2009: All "Conversation" and zero Water Conservation
It’s hard to imagine, but today in spite of all its crying about not having enough water, Greensboro no longer operates a WC program. It does not employ a single WC worker. You would think that some local investigative reporter would ask the City why it has no WC program. I am sure you would agree that's news fit to print. And why have no local environmentalists pressured Greensboro back into WC the way they did in the 90’s? I was Greensboro's WC Manager, and I was fired in 1999. The fact that I was never replaced should get your immediate attention. The dam scammers should have hired a new WC mananger to maintain their WC façade. Instead my assistant Kristine Williams was renamed a Coordinator and they were back to just one WC worker. Under her control and with plenty of restrictions from upstairs, WC ceased doing tactical water efficiency projects. Instead it began to do school tours, coloring contests, water fairs for fifth graders and selling silly rain barrels that nobody wanted.
If you analyse the changes made after my termination you will notice that Director Allan Williams' restructured WC program contained nothing that would interfere with water sales and nothing that would lower public water use.
The water department began losing money
Two years after I was hired water use went down 3 years in a row. Extensive citizen participation in an array of water efficiency programs caused the decline and it rattled the dam scammers. The water department began losing money. That was management's secret reason for curtailing WC, but an even better reason was the threat that declining water use presented to the big push for the Randleman Dam.
Greensboro was hoping that water demand would continue to escalate despite WC and escalating water use would make the dam a slam dunk. So Greensboro’s WC program had to be secretly extinguished ....because it was on fire. WC became both an asset and a liability to the dam scammers. As its manager I caught on that the dam was a scam and that city officials were lying to justify an unnecessary project.
One WC worker eliminated, one to go... Sometime around 2004 my assistant Kristine Williams, the only remaining WC worker was transferred to another department. And like me, she was never replaced. I am dumbfounded why the dam scamming officials took down an award-winning WC program at the same time they were calling for more WC.
Were they not afraid of being caught with no WC employees and no program? But with allies like the Greensboro News & Record that always toss softballs and never dredge for facts, the dam scammers did not even have to worry about operating their scam without any WC program. How about it Taft Wireback? You always report that the reservoirs are drying up, but you never reported that the WC program and WC staff have dried up. Why isn't it news that an award-winning nationally recognized WC program has vanished? Neither Kristine nor I were ever replaced. Greensboro has no WC program. Are the dam scammers powerful enough to control the news?
Greensboro’s idea of WC is that when it does not have the resource to sell to you, it wants you to immediately begin conserving it. And as soon as it has more water in stock, it wants to sell all that it can.
Water sales have declined and the water department needs cash. Low water sales mean that the Water Department does not have enough revenue to operate its big waterworks that keeps on expanding. That’s why rates went up 9% January 1st and that's why rates will keep going up.
Water selling--a national problem needing Federal attention
If you will read my other stories in this blog you will discover that Greensboro is a water-seller and not a water conserver. And that is the problem in our nation today—most municipal water authorities are water-sellers. They operate token WC programs mainly so they can never be accused of not having them.
FACT: Most WC program managers and coordinators are prevented from ever doing any good by their water-selling and waterworks-expanding directors. I'll have much more about the sad shape of WC in the US in a new story coming this weekend. Remember these three reasons for Greensboro water rate increases that city officials are not being honest about:
1. Water sales are well below forecast for many years now and the Water Department is cash poor. It could stop its expansion but since it is a monopoly instead it will raise your rates. 2. Greensboro’s most profitable water customers, manufacturers have gone to Asia. Losing those huge accounts has been disastrous to municipal water sellers like Greensboro. So residential water accounts must make up (chip in) for the significant loss of revenue in this post-industrial age. Chinese manufacturing is raising your water bill. The News & Record won't tell you this. The City won't tell you either. That's why I am filing these reports.
3. During this Randleman era water sales were expected to increase. They decreased. The profit from increased water sales was supposed to pay for the Randleman Dam, the Randleman Reservoir, the Randleman Water Plant and the Randleman water lines. Now the deficit must be made up by the taxpayers and water rate payers. Greensboro is obligated by the dam contract to continue with the dam projects. So the city must pretend that it still needs Randleman’s water to keep those funds coming. The drought has become the dam scammer's best friend because it is nicely masking the decline in water use. They won't tell you that once it becomes more than a fish sanctuary, Randleman Reservoir will be empty during a drought just like every other reservoir becomes empty during a drought.
Greensboro's city managers, water managers, council members and mayor dissolved the Water Conservation program because it successfully reduced water use and it became a threat to the fraudulent push for the Randleman Dam. ###
Stay tuned---more stories coming soon...
Tell others to Google two words - dam scam - to find this story.

No comments:

Post a Comment