Interview: How Bureaucracies Threaten Lake Mead, Colorado River Basin Communities

The very systems responsible for bringing clean, life-giving water to people and farms worldwide are managed by shrouded structures of unelected regulators, bureaucrats, political donors and, of course, politicians.

What happens when disjointed and murky organizations who fight for position, money and power are given the responsibility of managing our most precious resources? Just look at the western U.S. today. Yes, there is a significant drought, but do our communities have any control over our own resources? The results seem obvious. For years, the Colorado River Basin has been drained for communities and casinos hundreds of miles away, while leaders in the basin’s own region have little control over their own local bodies of water.

It’s been a constant controversy decades in the making driven by cloudy legal agreements and power grabs. Cities against rural communities. Farmers against residential neighborhoods. Resources shipped hundreds of miles away without local community input.

Does anyone know how much drinkable water is actually available from their local resources? How much is poor management responsible for today’s problems in places like California, Nevada, or even Australia?

Who’s actually making the decisions across jurisdictions? Is it the national government, state agencies or local water management bureaucracies? Some silly combination of all the above? Are their efforts based on real data? Are the decision makers actually educated regarding their massive responsibilities?

As we’ve watched droughts unfold worldwide, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that the same types of compromised people making decisions at the Central Banks, health authorities, and even the WEF are driving many of our water problems. It’s not just places or problems like those in Flint, Mich. or Jackson, Miss. It goes far beyond false “Build Back Better” boondoggles.

Across the globe, water disputes have been reaching a boiling point between nations and local communities. Countries, states and local communities are on the edge. Now years of resource mismanagement is exacerbated by today’s weather.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Isn’t it time to take this critical natural resource seriously for the public good? Aren’t we intelligent enough to make it a win-win for everyone?

Transparency is always the antidote to failing systems, but when it comes to the most important resource for our lives, today it’s clearly clouded by corrupt systems.

Fraser Macleod of Civic Ledger joins me to explore how important it is to bring sunlight to this critical resource management conundrum and how technologies like the blockchain can foster intelligent decisions regarding the most important substance on Earth.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


I know someone who lost 5 houses in the real estate experiment with blockchain in 2008-9

1 Like

Dw Documentaries

The fight for water:
What happens when our water dries up?
Who owns water:

1 Like

The Water Knife

speculative fiction, read 5 years ago, harrowing, haunting, recommended. Here’s an excerpt from a review.

Set in the American Southwest, at a time in the near future when Britney Spears is toothless and old, the country is plagued by climactic calamities and the Southwest's dwindling water supply is controlled by robber barons.

A toothless Britney Spears, believe it or not, is the least chilling thing about The Water Knife — although "chilling" might be the wrong word for Bacigalupi's speculative vision of Arizona. Hit by "Big Daddy Drought," a perpetual catastrophe that has become the horrifying new normal, the Grand Canyon State is the new American dust bowl — or sand bowl, if you will — where refugees crowd the ghettos of suburban Phoenix and rapacious "coyotes" smuggle people not from Mexico to the U.S., as they do now, but from Arizona to California.

The federal government has been severely weakened by corporate influence; the drought-stricken Western states have formed their own militias and shut down their borders. In the midst of this poverty and tragedy, though, massive resorts are being constructed across the parched landscape, ones that flaunt their water-wealth in the face of exploited workers and gross ecological disparity.
Angel Velazquez is a former gang member turned "water knife," an unofficial, covert operative of the corrupt Southern Nevada Water Authority, which has a vested interest in resort development. His job is to run black ops for the SNWA, up to and including the bombing of water-treatment plants that won't play ball with his boss. 

Loved Water Knife!


Nefarious Intent

Bravo for acknowledging the possibility of bad actor influence.
While it is tempting to frame this crisis as result of incompetence or ignorance, there is plenty of evidence that there is in fact a nefarious influence.
For example, The bush family investment in Paraguay water holdings stands out. Massive controlling interest in immense aquifer. Way ahead of any water scarcity…


Well Done

A genuinely great discussion, in Australia we do have many types of water ‘rights’ with many reliability characteristics and other differences.
I have tried to get traction on small scale water development at tax rebate vs invest in grand schemes on a 1/10 the cost but it is not how governments work.
I expect there is some work to go on “combined yield” (using the shallow or less reliable first) particularly as accepted data. Most landowners know to keep a bit of the most reliable water back for keeping permanent plants alive but getting that to be “accepted true data” will take some time but is worth the effort.

1 Like

Please, elaborate!
As far as I know and understand blockchain, decentralized ledgers, bitcoin and other crypto, the way it is explained, and used, in this podcast is indeed correct. Transactions are near-fraud free taken note of, without the usual middlemen. That’s the main usecase of decentralized ledgers. I can’t understand how someone would loose five houses due to blockchain. Something else outside of the decentralized ledger must have happened. Either speculation (=gambling), or a non-secure method was used, allowing for fraudulent activities.

1 Like

DeFi blockchains did not exist at at that time. As far I know, they are a recent invention (started maybe 5 years ago?).
Can you provide any more details on this? I suspect it was a traditional bank he used, but perhaps it was some kind of arcane “financial product.”

the bitcoin whitepaper was released on halloween 2008. the first bitcoin were mined in early 2009. there was no monetary value for many months. there was no real estate application of blockchain back then
there are thus two pssoble options to your post. 1-you are sadly mistaken and confused 2- you are trolling. giving the benefit of the doubt i will ascribe #1

1 Like

Point Missed

bitcoin IS the KILLER app.
what is most needed is mass adoption. the app is there.

Bitcoin $100,000!
Or maybe $10K is next. Its hard to say. Fortunately I have enough bitcoin to bribe the border guards, so I’m all set.
Am I allowed to make fun of bitcoin? I suspect not. Punishment will be forthcoming soon. Although it does look to be right at support.
Not financial advice.


Hopefully no punishment will be forthcoming, DF. Bitcoiners are a lonely little platoon here, the red-haired stepchildren of PP, and we are grateful for any engagement on the topic. ?