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August 04, 2009


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Sean Stannard-Stockton

I like the parable. What if those who own the river rights actually really want to disperse the water into the valley in the best possible way? And what if they have a choice between a number of various dam operators? The conflict you point out with being paid on the height of the water is real. But what if that is the accepted way to charge? Could a new dam operator come on the scene, charge the old way, but disperse the water freely in the best possible way and attract many of those with river rights to use their dam?

The best solution would be to meter based on some combination of water flowing in and out. But if those with river rights found that way of metering strange or unacceptable, I wonder if the new dam operator could charge the old way, but disperse the water freely because their more effective dam would attract so many clients with river rights that the height of the dam would be quite large and the volume of water going to the valley would also be large? Maybe that dam operator could even encourage people with river rights whose water was not going to the valley to divert some of their water to the dam (and then on to the the valley) for the first time?

Phil Cubeta

We are thinking along the same lines, Sean. The question is how to create a better informed and more transparent market in which the better operators of these canals, dams, and sluices get the reputation they deserve. That comes down to referrals from those who benefit most from the enhanced flow of funds - the nonprofits. But as you know, they do not make referrals. That to me is the remediable defect. The community foundations, donor mavens, nonprofits have to get to the bottom of who is doing good unselfish work in this area and then reward those people with a wonderful reputation and good referrals. What goes around has to come around. For that the recipients of unselfish work by advisors had better spread the good word if they want more of it.

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