Fuzzy lines and phantasmagorias

Posted on | October 7, 2009 | 4 Comments

charity-mattdamonDOES Matt Damon’s H2O Africa help water management in developing countries? Todd Jarvis, Associate Director of the Institute for Water and Watersheds at Oregon State University, has doubts. “I just wonder how many of his movie dollars are going to go to solving water problems, and how much is going to get soaked up by corruption.”

WaterWired has Jarvis’s autumn lecture on water and ethics,”Fuzzy lines and phantasmagorias,” posted. To access it, click here. Jarvis’s message to up and coming hydro-geologists: “I have been unethical. Everyone is unethical sometimes … As a professional, you will be on that line. You will walk that line many times.”

Citing the World Bank, he said that while Scandinavia leads the world in non-corrupt practices, the US is “not too far away from Italy with respect to corruption.” This offered a natural segue to look at the $500 billion expected to flow in stimulus money for US water infrastructure repair. “Let’s say the corruption is only one per cent. Is that pocket change?”

Over in the Los Angeles Times this morning, two Sacramento reporters write that California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been holding the legislature hostage with threats of mass vetos unless he gets water bills to his desk addressing problems facing the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. This is a not-so-recent double down on a previous threat that he would veto any water bills without billions of dollars worth of pet dam projects. Will he get the bills? A better question might be: Does he really want them? What better way to force the federal government to intervene than to prove California incapable of governing itself?

Is holding 700 unrelated bills and the future of the state’s water supply hostage for a pet infrastructure project ethical? Can the World Bank and Oregon State University’s Todd Jarvis possibly be right? Are we really as incorruptible as Italy?

Comments

4 Responses to “Fuzzy lines and phantasmagorias”

  1. mary
    December 16th, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

    i am pretty certain that no one will see this. i have searched and searched and the only thing i can find about this is from 2009. why is that? i just saw matt damon on letterman tauting this program. Well I go to water.org and seems to be a dead site. He states that all of the profits go toward ….
    well what if there are no profits – what does that mean? It all seemed very vaugue to me. I am not sold by just having a celebrity talk about a program and I don’t think you should either.

  2. Todd Jarvis
    December 19th, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

    I read Mary’s comment and searched for Matt Damon’s water site – http://water.org/ – it is live.

    Here is the blurb on his Letterman visit:
    http://water.org/2010/12/david-letterman-water-org-now-thats-simple-frager-factor/

    I am not a celebrity, just a lowly water professional. If Mary is searching for a place to park a donation or two, check out these water missions:

    Water for People – http://www.waterforpeople.org/

    Ann Campana Judge Foundation – http://www.acjfoundation.org/

    Shill Alert – I have a former student working as a Fellow for Water for People. I donate funds every year to Ann Campana Judge Foundation because Dr. Michael *Aquadoc* Campana is my next door neighbor.

    At least I know where my donations (sweat equity with students and cold hard cash) and they are not dependent on *profit* margins (other than my own, which are meager as a part-time teacher).

  3. EmilyGreen
    December 19th, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

    Thanks Todd, and not purely because I agree with your recommendations and I also support the Ann Campana Judge Foundation. I wish that Michael was my next door neighbor; what makes supporting his foundation so gratifying is such a short line between donation and beneficiary. Because it’s such a good link, I’m copying it

    Ann Campana Judge Foundation – http://www.acjfoundation.org/

  4. EmilyGreen
    December 19th, 2010 @ 6:45 pm

    Thanks Todd, and not purely because I agree with your recommendations but also because I too support the Ann Campana Judge Foundation. I wish that Michael were my next door neighbor; what makes supporting his foundation so gratifying is such a short line between donation and beneficiary and such an astute manager. Because it’s such a good link for anyone looking to support clean water projects, I’m copying it

    Ann Campana Judge Foundation – http://www.acjfoundation.org/

Leave a Reply





  • After the lawn


  • As you were saying: Comments

  • As I was saying: Recent posts

  • Garden blogs


  • Chance of Rain on Twitter

  • Contact

    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
  • Categories