The southwest is having trouble making the desert bloom with strip malls and industrial monoculture, something that’s back in the news after New Mexico governor Bill Richardson mouthed off to the Las Vegas Sun about how Wisconsin has way more water than it actually needs. Mike Miner covered the issue last year, and noticed something that the Tribune either missed or is too terrified to mention now that Mayor Daley is trying to sell, lease, or tax anything he can:

The big question, says [Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation attorney Jim] Olson, is who pays? He thinks that since Chicago has rights over Great Lakes water no other state or city has, in giving them up it would be acting more clearly in the basin’s interests than in its own. So it should be rewarded. “The rest of the basin would have to negotiate with Chicago to help pay for this,” he says.

Translation: if you’re going to decorate your post-capitalist hellscape with our water, be prepared to deal with the city that’s too corrupt for casinos.

The people Miner talked to seemed to think that piping water two-thirds of the way across America would be more expensive than desalinization. Westerners are also encouraged to recycle their water (not that Chicago can really talk about recycling stuff).

But if we can’t make money off it, we can at least be dicks about it.

“You can move to Chicago or Milwaukee or Detroit or any one of many lovely communities that are up here in the midwest and actually have the benefit of having water for their populations.” [Todd Ambs, water division administrator of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]

We ripped a hole in the Great Lakes and we don’t even care! How do you like them apples?