Water Usage, From Fields to Putting Greens

Another dimension to the editorial "West's Water Riddles," Jan. 21, relates to the fickle "trickle-down" principle. May Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit apply sensible national standards to the distribution of Colorado River water, thereby questioning Arizona's use of the Central Arizona Project (CAP) water.

While California's drought-stricken agricultural regions are food suppliers for the whole nation, Arizona's urban areas promote the use of CAP water to subsidize golf courses for the politically powerful resort developers. The Phoenix area, "Valley of the Sun," has 117 courses; each consumes one-and-a-half million gallons of water per day to serve about 20 percent of the people of Arizona and 25 percent of the tourists.

Although "supply-siders" toot golf resorts as enriching enterprises by providing employment, one must analyze that most of the money goes to the top.

In Scottsdale, Ariz., taxpayers finance - not by popular vote - the PGA tournament course located on federal public land; the fee is $88 a round, thus excluding the average resident, who is paying for the bonds and the infrastructure. Thus, the priorities in the use of a scarce resource appear to be perverted. Dexter Leland, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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