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By David Ryan Palmer
Southwest Daily News

OPINION: Nixed water sale an encouraging development

Posted Jan 15, 2012 @ 02:00 PM
Sulphur, La. —

As reported in this publication, in our northern sister papers (the Beaurgard Daily News and the Leesville Daily Leader) as well as a certain paper across the river there in Lake Charles, the 13-member Sabine River Authority of Louisiana voted to put the kibosh on sales talks until a study is done on Louisiana’s water needs.

A long time resident of Louisiana might look at this and wonder, water needs? While it’s true that we’ve been in a drought for a while now, water is still a plentiful resource for Louisiana, right? We’ve got swamps, rivers; hell, water is invading our shores at the rate of 100 feet per year in some places.

Surely we don’t have a water problem?

The answer to that simple question is, “Yes, of course we have a water problem.”

Whatever your political leanings, conservative or liberal, the scientific consensus for the past few years has been that climate change (a more accurate and less politically charged turn of phrase over ‘global warming’) is impacting the world, and it is impacting Louisiana in particular. It doesn’t matter what is causing it, or why, because climate systems have a certain amount of inertia.

Things are going to get hotter, and any physics student knows that heat equals energy. More energetic storms. More drastic weather patterns. More extremes between the wet times and the dry times.

In the book Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by journalist Mark Hertsgaard, the author references many theories about the effects of climate change. Over and over again, he speaks about water scarcity. Even areas that have taken water for granted in the past, say like Louisiana, will have to worry about their water levels and how to manage them better.

That’s why is it comforting and encouraging to see the Sabine River Authority put the stops on selling precious water to Texas.

Texas was hit hard in 2011 by drought, as well as raging wildfires. Texans join other southwestern states in this least illustrious of clubs, that of diminishing water returns and, again, more serious weather patterns.

The members of the SRA should be applauded for taking the time to study what impact selling our water to Texas would have. I’m no scientist, but I’m going to put out a hypothesis: Texas is going to need our water. It’s going to need Oklahoma’s water, Utah’s water, and if it could get a hold of it, New York or New Hampshire’s water.

The thing is, we’re going to need our water too.

David Ryan Palmer is a reporter and writer for the Southwest Daily News in Southwest Louisiana. Follow him in Twitter (@SDNDavidPalmer) or email him at

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