I’ve tried to figure out why state, city and county government leaders are taking such limited action on the very real potential for a drought disaster this summer (“Thirsty? Dirty? Sorry,” cover story, by Cat Warren, Jan. 30). The only reason for their dereliction of duty to protect citizens, I can assume, is their greater fear of slowing down the development machine. Since the development industry controls more of government policy than private citizens, I guess developers have determined that not facing the truth hurts less than taking necessary action. Better to continue with unsustainable policies and court catastrophe than risk invested dollars.

As for citizen action, Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) water use records show Chapel Hill citizens did not meet Stage 1 water restriction goals, and are not meeting Stage 2 goals either. If a community that considers itself the elite of conservation and environmental conscience cannot voluntarily meet the challenge, there isn’t much hope for any other community, either.

Rita Gartner thinks a desalination plant is the answer (Back Talk, Feb. 6). I wonder if she has figured out the cost and feasibility to build pipelines all over the state, and if she would be willing to pay the taxes and water rates necessary to finance the project? Citizens don’t even want to pay enough taxes to fix roads, how will they approve of the massive cost of infrastructure for desalination and water pipelines?

Peter Childers