From Michael Hiltzik, in the Los Angeles Times, “The false promise of Hoover Dam.” Hiltzik provides a good summary of the political promises and pretenses that allowed the dam to be built in the first place. He then examines the competing demands for the current and future use of the dam. I liked this bit:
This year, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s dedication of “the greatest dam in the world” on September 30, 1935, we should also recognize the dam’s equivocal legacy to the West, and to the nation.
Connoisseurs of irony will note that on that day, under a blistering sun and before 10,000 spectators and 20 million radio listeners, FDR claimed as a symbol of the New Deal a public work conceived, designed and launched by his Republican predecessors.
Indeed, during the 1932 presidential campaign, candidate Roosevelt had savagely attacked Hoover, his GOP opponent, for excessive deficit spending on projects like the dam. Once ensconced in the White House, however, he quickly came to appreciate the totemic power of great public works and their effectiveness at representing the benefits that could be bestowed on the citizens by a visionary administration.
Near the end of the article Hiltzik concludes:
The truth is that conflict on the [Colorado] river will never be stilled, because there will always be more demand for the water than there is water.
Excess demand? The price must be too low. Sounds like a job for the Aguanomist!