Arkansas Basin Roundtable

It is the mission of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable (to be developed) ........................................

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Another scenario of conflict of interest

As stated above each of us on the Roundtable is identified with an interest--county or municiple representative, agriculture interests, recreation interests, industrial interests, water rights owners, environmental interests, etc. However, someone who represents a county may also be a major water rights owner in a ditch company.

So another possible scenario:

Joe Blow is ostensibly on the Roundtable representing agricultural interests. There is a proposal to build a small dam to facilitate water transfers to a front range city in another basin. So the Roundtable asks Joe Blow if this proposed dam presents any problems for the agricultural interests he represents.

Unknown to the other Roundtable members, Joe Blow's wife has purchased most of the land on which the dam will be built (done under her maiden name so it is not well known in the community) and this is going to be a major economic windfall for Joe and his family. Joe says the proposed dam will present no problems for the farmers in area and they are not that concerned that they don't have any storage rights in it. So the Roundtable recommends that the dam project and our IBCC rep negotiates with the city in the other basin that wants to use this dam with the understanding that it will not harm our basin.

Due to the publicity surrounding the IBCC negotiations, other farmers in the affected area make complaints to the CWCB and the press. They are angry because this dam will have negative impacts on them and they are angry because they now believe that the Arkansas Basin Roundtable sold them when recommending the dam project.

Even if the dam project is stopped, the farmers who were impacted and many others who read about this lose confidence in the Roundtable. The Roundtable loses its ability to do any negotiating or resolving of differences in the basin because many interests do not trust the Roundtable process because it doesn't even ask its members to disclose conflicts of interest.

Additionally when the Roundtable confronts Joe Blow, he rightfully says he had no obligation to inform the Roundtable of this as there was no conflict of interest disclosure requirement. Since he didn't violate any rule, the Roundtable was unable to get sufficient votes to remove Joe Blow as Roundtable member.
SeEtta Moss