Regarding the dispute over the level of Falls Lake, there is an obvious solution. But first Mayor Meeker and Rep. Miller need to realize that they are arguing about the wrong thing. They are insisting that the lake level remain a foot above normal — but water that stays in the lake is no use to anyone (except fishermen and recreational boaters). What Meeker and Miller really want is for the residents of the Raleigh area to be able to use the water, which means sucking it out of the lake first. The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) just want the excess water to leave the lake, and they don’t really care where it goes. These goals are compatible.

If I were the mayor of Raleigh, here is what I would do:

  1. Say to the ACE: “Before you start lowering the lake, give me a couple of weeks to lower it for you.”
  2. Make this announcement to all Raleigh water customers: “Folks, the lake has too much water in it. If we don’t use the excess water, the ACE will have to throw it away. So let’s use it! For the next two weeks, all water restrictions are suspended, and water is free. Use as much as you want! Now is the time to do all the things you couldn’t do during the drought. Water your lawn! Wash all your cars! Wash your house! Fill your pool! Give your dog a bath! But do it NOW, because this is a limited-time offer.”
  3. When environmental activists protest this action (and they will, even though there is no rational basis for doing so), invite them to a meeting with unnamed city officials. Wait until all the activists have arrived and then spray them with fire hoses, operated by the Raleigh Fire Department. (They’re city officials, aren’t they?)

Of course this problem only exists in the first place because the lake is “public property” and is managed by government bureacrats. If I owned Falls Lake, I would solve this problem by bottling all the excess water and selling it at ridiculously inflated prices to idiots. I’m sorry, did I say “idiots”? I meant “people who are foolish enough to pay more for water than they do for gasoline”.

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