Keep 'em in the dark and feed 'em....

Launce Rake tried to get an estimate from the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) what they now estimate the water grab is going to cost. He points out that however many billions of tax dollars are going down this hole, er pipeline, it is certainly more than the 20-year-old $2 billion figure that is oft tossed about.

The SNWA plan seems to mirror the decades-old plan for the downwinders. The plan then suggested that if the government didn't collect data it couldn't ever be sued to release data under sunshine laws. Apparently SNWA would like us to believe the same of the water grab plans. A staff person for SNWA told Rake that they hope to have a number soon that they can share with the public.

Understanding that the number is a moving target that changes with time is easy. It is harder to understand why SNWA doesn't have a figure. Unlike the downwinder situation SNWA is dependent upon state and local funding for their project. The nominal blank-check of the defense industry is tucked away and not out on the table as it was for nuclear testing during the cold war. So the situation is either that SNWA's mis-management of this project is so great that they don't have a number or that they don't want to share it for fear it will awaken citizens of Nevada to what is going on here.

There is a great opportunity for a Nevada legislator here. With the next session let's put a law on the books that if your agency is planning a public works project whose lifetime cost is estimated to exceed $1 billion you must provide a timely updated estimate of the project's projected costs at least annually.