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The arithmetically challenged Tim Leigh

Wed, Jan 30, 2013

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Tim Leigh’s pithy, well-written weekly market reports always make interesting reading. This week’s was even more interesting than usual, because of two glaring howlers. Here’s an excerpt, with the howlers in bold.

“The CSU leadership, including the previous board, has made several questionable policy decisions:

 

1. The disastrous Neumann Scrubber policy where CSU became the venture capital partner on an R&D project with a sole-source vendor with no previous experience and where there is no financial guarantee for installation or performance – all this, when other readily available and less costly competitive vendors were and are available.

 

2. The disastrous gas price hedging policy which led to $44,000,000 MILLION DOLLAR losses from 2002 – 2010.

 

3. The potentially disastrous SDS policy where we seem to have an SDS budget with no end in sight. While I support the notion that too much water is better than not enough water (even at (nominally) too great a cost), at some point reason must intervene with fantasy.

 

It’s been asserted the city’s total water demand in 2046 (33 years from now) is not as great as management previously forecast. This is important because Management’s water demand forecast is the headline justification for SDS.

 

A credible source says (in 2046) Colorado Springs will only need an additional 8 million acre feet of water over our current demand and that the SDS pipeline, when fully built-out, will provide additional 48 million acre feet of water. Some questions could be, “Do we need 40 million extra acre feet of water? At what cost? Were there (are there still) less costly options? Even with recognized sunk costs, can we continue to justify the cost of the pipeline vis-à-vis demand?”

Um, er Tim – $44,000,000 million…I believe that’s $44 quadrillion, which is about 3,000 times the value of all the gold that has ever been mined. And 48 million acre-feet? That’s about three times the average annual flow of the Colorado River in wet years, suggesting that Colorado Springs has somehow got its hands on all the water in the mountain west – too bad for L.A., Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Mexico! No water for you! How could have we afforded it? Hey, that’s where the $44 quadrillion went…and who was that “credible source,” anyway?

Note: Originally, I thought it was $44 trillion, so I am as arithmetically challenged as Tim.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Kelly Says:

    John if you are going to correct Tim (that’s fine) then provide the numbers…

  2. Hayden S Gregory Says:

    Dear John,

    I agree with Kelly, what are your corrected numbers, and source to refute the number shown above.

    It’s easy to criticize without facts. Finally why did you memtion in your article – item #1. when nothing was “highlighted” as a howler?