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Data show Nevers' water policy would serve LA poorly

It is axiomatic that Louisiana has underachieved both for its citizens and in freeing its citizens to accomplish on their own because too often its politicians decide on the basis of their personal political fortunes rather than making good choices for the entire state and its people. A recent report reconfirms this awful tendency.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Louisiana Water Science Center is preparing to issue recently-collected data about the status of water resources available in the state. They show most of the state’s aquifer and surface water capacity is adequate for immediate and short-run future needs. Additionally, if the need for more water came about, another USGS geologist stated that Louisiana has many untapped above-ground natural sources not yet being utilized.

But that’s not the conclusion Denmon Engineering seems to draw from the situation. This firm stands to profit from being at the forefront of building reservoirs across the state, as it has done already. It claims there won’t be enough water around in some locations without the reservoirs, despite what government scientists argue.

One such project Denmon is backing a controversial reservoir in Washington Parish – which the unpublished data show is now drawing less water from the Southern Hills aquifer than before. One of the authors of this idea is Democrat state Sen. Ben Nevers, who naturally disputes the scientific data on the question of future capacity.

Nevers is no stranger to having state money pumped into a project that duplicates and creates redundancy. In 2005, he and others managed to get a rural medicine residency program started at Bogalusa Medical Center. That replicates the already-existing program at W.O. Moss Regional in Lake Charles.

His political style perfectly illustrates why he and too many others who practice it have put this state into such trouble. Instead of sending money where real needs exist, fake ones are created in order to give politicians the chance to steer money to “fix” false problems, buying enough support to win reelection.

Too much money already has gone into the reservoir-building frenzy; money, for example that could have been spent on a $14 billion roads improvement backlog that would do far more for economic development (the other reason reservoir backers cite for their building) that chasing away private property owners, reconfiguring some land, and directing water into it at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Hopefully, the release of this data will help put a halt to this manifestation of a public policy philosophy that has served the state so ill.

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