The Harris Ranch fiasco is again news, thanks to Sven Berg’s further insightful analysis. Looks like we are headed for litigation because the City Council is wedded to pro-growth economics. Next on the docket, March 29, comes the proposed “Syringa Valley” subdivision in South Boise — 3,000 households, school, fire station, offices on 601 acres built over 20 years, the first phase slated to be 453 houses on 101 acres.
Traffic congestion and air pollution are problems not yet satisfactorily solved in the initial planning, but the overriding problem of water use and availability has not been considered at all. Water is the limiting resource for human occupancy in the arid West, but we pay scant attention to impacts of developments on sustainability of our water supply. Since the 1980s a number of shallow aquifers in the Treasure Valley have dried up. The SUEZ company will provide water to Syringa from its deep wells. What impacts will increased discharge from SUEZ wells have on shallow private wells in south Ada County? The discharge rate from many wells is already greater than the recharge. Without fact-based planning now, how many decades, not centuries, will pass before devastating water shortages come to the Treasure Valley?
Tom J. Cade, Boise