Forrest Gump said he stopped running because he was tired. I am tired, and that’s why I am concluding my exposé about Greensboro’s fraudulent pursuit of the Randleman Dam.
I’ve been unsuccessful at galvanizing any support for an investigation into municipal corruption regarding the dam's approval and funding, so here is my final wrap. If you appreciate having abundant low-cost water delivered to your tap please read my final post and discover what's wrong about the workings of the average water works.
A NATION’S WATER AT RISK
The most misunderstood threat to our nation’s water supply is municipalities like the City of Greensboro, NC that sell water for profit. Why?—because they will always try and sell all they can. And when you try to maximize your water sales, water conservation is the last thing on your mind! The City won’t care that 35,000 toilets are leaking 24/7 because toilet leaks increase water sales by 2 million gallons a day! This represents a sale! And Greensboro needs to sell more water, because water use is declining.
Water works routinely expand their systems even when water sales are declining because they’re managed by engineers who build things for a living. The manifest destiny of the average municipal water works results in the waste of trillions of US gallons annually and nobody is watching. That’s not all—water is heavy—so they also waste enormous amounts of non-renewable fossil fuels to provide the energy to distribute, collect and treat all the water that should have been be conserved but instead was sold for profit.
Sadly, this unnecessary waste of water and energy will continue forever unless and until municipal water works are forced to change their ways. Who will force them? If you said the government, you’re wrong. Currently, state and federal governments encourage and reward municipalities like Greensboro for expanding their water works, so it does not appear that government will ever become the change-agent that mandates water efficiency for municipalities.
A CASE STUDY IN THE MAKING
Soon the water-for-profit quagmire will be demonstrated locally right here in Randleman, NC. Although more than a decade behind schedule, the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority (PTRWA) (The Randleman Dam agency) will begin selling water within the next few months. And like most municipal suppliers, PTRWA will sell as much of the new Randleman Reservoir as it can every day! And PTRWA will expand its operation regardless of need because that's the mindset of water works engineers.
WHAT ABOUT WATER CONSERVATION?
PTRWA (Randleman Reservoir)(RanRez) will never promote the practice of water conservation until drought happens and its reservoir become empty. Once the drought ends, RanRez will go right back to selling (wasting) all the water it can. RanRez' views about water conservation will be just like the majority of US municipalities that offer plenty of water con-VERSATION and no real water con-SERVATION. Any mention of "water conservation" by a water-selling-for-profit utility is a joke!
FACT: The National Water Conservation Conference is the place where WC Coordinators lament that their engineer-directors are only interested in water sales and water works expansions. Water Utility Managers have zero interest in water conservation!...but if you stick a microphone under their chins and ask them, they will sing praises about water conservation and claim they are doing everything possible to help customers use water efficiently.
WC coordinators resort to conducting school tours and printing WC literature because they are prevented from doing projects that save water (reduce sales). The only time their bosses appear interested in water conservation is when they are on camera. Whenever the water engineer/director oversees the water conservation program, the fox is guarding the henhouse. Do you still not understand the problem with municipal governments and water engineers selling water for profit?
As water conservation manager I gave the City of Greensboro my best effort. My one-person WC office led citizens to spare 4 billion gallons and win back-to-back 1st place United States Environmental Protection Agency awards for municipal water efficiency. During my 5-years of service real water sales declined every year while the Greensboro economy was booming and record numbers of building permits were being issued. The unanticipated decline scared the crap out of my water bosses and it became a direct threat to the approval and funding of the Randleman Dam. I was toast.
I was hassled for three years and then fired in 1999 for succeeding at what I was hired to do. I was never replaced. Then in 2003 the City of Greensboro released the WC specialist I had hired and it never filled her vacant position either. So the City of Greensboro shut down its nationally recognized water conservation program without any complaints from taxpayers, local environmentalists, NCDENR, the EPA because the local news didn't report it.
I’ve given this dam scam exposé my best shot since 2007. Unfortunately I have been unable to convince citizens and news reporters that they were scammed into an unnecessary dam and vast supply of new water. The City of Greensboro used every trick in the book to get its new dam by hook or crook. The dam scammers were successful at their game and it appears they will never be held accountable for fraudulently expanding Greensboro’s water works by 75% during a 15 year decline in water sales. Only a monopoly can behave like that—and it certainly helps when the local news media serves as cheerleaders for the expansion.
I have no doubt that people more talented than me will continue to risk their careers and expose the harm caused by municipalities driven to sell water-for-profit. Perhaps the evidence I have archived here may become useful to those wishing to advance this issue. As for this whistleblower, I have been at this for too long and my health has been affected. I am so grateful to the Internet and Google for the opportunity they provide to fight city hall. I send my best wishes and this word of caution to all those involved in the uphill battle for water efficiency in a water-for-profit environment.
Mike J Baron
Greensboro’s only water conservation manager
1994 to 1999
Google dam scam to find my reports