Deciding on Whether to Limit Growth or Address Water Resource Limitations
Where water resource limitations might be reached due to projected growth over the planning period, a range of options must be evaluated if a jurisdiction wants to continue to grow. Identifying and evaluating the feasibility of various options will typically require an interdisciplinary team of planners, engineers, economists, hydrologists and fiscal specialists. Technical studies may be required that can often be expensive and time consuming. Therefore, identifying future limitations as early as possible is vital. Decisions on growth and alternative measures will also require lengthy local and state public planning and regulatory processes, where economic, public and environmental health, community values and legal considerations can be debated before a consensus is reached by local elected officials. Decisions must be made that will prevent economic, public health and environmental problems in the future.
Methods for managing growth where there is limited resource availability include building permit limitations, downzoning, concentrating growth elsewhere, phasing growth and changing the amount and location of growth. Realizing that limiting growth in one area can lead to increased growth in other areas, local governments should work cooperatively with adjacent municipalities and counties to avoid conflicts, prevent sprawl and promote smart growth development inside PFAs.