Nov 21, 2014 · 1 minute

Here's a novel solution to the National Security Agency's surveillance programs: shut off the water that will allow its data centers to store and analyze unimaginable amounts of information without turning into a puddle of melted hard drives. It's hard to conduct digital surveillance when the estimated one-million gallons of water sent to critical areas each day stops flowing.

That's not quite what Utah legislators discussed on Wednesday -- their proposal involves the suspension of the NSA's water service contract in 2021, not the twist of an imaginary wrench that can shut down such large pipes as soon as the bill's ink dries -- but it has the same moxie.

Bluffdale, Utah agreed to sell water to the NSA "below the city guidelines in order to secure the contract," the Salt-Lake Tribune reports. That's supposed to help the city encourage economic growth, as the pipes laid for the NSA's water distribution could allow the city to woo businesses. But it's also caused Utah legislators who oppose the NSA's surveillance programs some worry.

"I just don’t want to subsidize what they’re doing on the back of our citizens," Rep. Roger Barrus said at Wednesday's meeting. Another representative, Marc Roberts, sponsored the bill. That the legislative committee was even willing to discuss this bill without publicly criticizing it -- which could doom its chances on the floor -- is seen as a sign of tacit support for its proposal.

It's not quite as dramatic as some might have hoped (the image of an angry state legislator destroying a massive pipe to protest federal programs is just too good to resist) but it's still an interesting solution to a devilish problem. Now if only other legislators would do something as drastic to curtail NSA surveillance through widespread reform instead of legislative maneuvers.

[image via Greenpeace]