Thursday, July 15, 2010

If You Make a Mistake, You Die.

Currently 3 men from Salt Lake City are missing in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix.  They went to this Wilderness Area to find the Lost Dutchman Goldmine, an enduring legend that has claimed at least 40 - 50 lives.
A green water hole within a few miles of hikers

Fools gold, fools to the end.
They ventured into this environment with no water, no knowledge of the desert, no imagination.  
Water is available throughout the Superstitions.  Springs are numerous and you can spot them from the light green shrubs and trees that surround them.  Some say they can smell it.  If the men die of thirst with the lights of Phoenix glowing on the horizon, I'm sure there is an old expression that applies to their foolishness.
I've hiked every trail in the Superstitions, often when temps are 110+, and a good part of the fun is the implicit challenge that, if you make a mistake, you die.
That was for fun, the challenge.
If you die for a vaporous legend of gold, shame.  Unfortunately, the men are past reproduction age and their genes have likely been passed along.
Much of my caution in the desert comes from the realization that thirst is maybe one of the worst ways to die.
I should go there soon, for the nostalgia, the thrill, for the knowledge that it's a risk activity. . . to get my soul back.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Cost of Water

It's about time someone began thinking in terms of $$$$
Herb Guenther, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, has often said that the era of cheap water in Arizona is over.  It's a wise sentiment, and I think that it's high time the era of cheap water in Arizona was over, but is it really?  Have Arizonan water companies really changed the way they price their water for retail consumption?  Have consumers really changed the way they use it?  We're beginning to make some progress by implementing more increasing block rate structures.  With these rates, as usage hits a specified threshold, the per unit price of water rises for the next block of water usage.
How people can expect the least available commodity in the desert to be one of the least expensive stretches belief.
As prices rise, maybe people will get the idea that maybe, just maybe, water ought to be used more conservatively.
If nothing else, the current recession may drive this point home.