It has been no secret for decades that the Soutwest United States was destined to have a serious water crisis. Continued unrestrained population growth, movement to water intensive financially lucrative yet unsustainable farming, and continued mismanagement of water resources made a water shortage inevitable. And then add on the ravages of climate change and the resulting long term droughts (low rain amounts and reduced snow cover in the mountains) and we see extreme water shortages, low river levels, and record low levels in a number of lakes through out the region.
So what response are we seeing from the Southwest? Changes in zoning laws? Changes in water use? Changes in agricultural usage? Improving methods of water conservation? Hell no, hey, look over there! The Missouri and Mississippi rivers are full of water. All we need is a new pipeline.
Think I am kidding??
From The Desert Sun: It’s time for Army Corps of Engineers to investigate the feasibility of moving water West This is the version in the actual paper rather than Yahoo news but there might be a firewall.
Numerous letters (including mine of June 30) have commented recently on the possibility of moving water from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River at Lake Powell (Glen Canyon dam on the Utah/Colorado border) and then downstream to Lake Mead (Hoover Dam/Las Vegas) and on through Arizona and beyond. Some of these letters are supportive and some not. The whole point of suggesting this solution to the Southwest’s water problem is to generate a public demand to the Army Corps of Engineers to investigate the feasibility of such a project.
I suggested diverting 250,000 gallons/second, which is only about 5% of the flow on the lower Mississippi south of the Old River Control Structure (ORCS) in Central Louisiana 300 miles above New Orleans. This water does nothing except flow out into the Gulf of Mexico. It generates no electricity and doesn’t help commercial shipping or recreational boating. It only causes flooding problems in New Orleans. No state above the OCRS would suffer any loss of water.
All you need is a big concrete-lined ditch to go to the Colorado River.
Water conservation on the part of everyone living in the Southwest is certainly important, but conservation simply can’t do the job. Los Angeles couldn’t exist without the California Aqueduct. Phoenix and other cities in the Southwest are in the same boat. Their future survival depends upon finding large amounts of new water.emphasis mine
And that same newspaper then presents us with more proof that this is a good idea (Yahoo news version because I have apparently reached my limit at the paper) : Deadly Kentucky floods show the merits of sending Midwest water to the West But here’s the original link if you still are in their good graces.
After reading the brilliant piece by Don Siefkes in this paper on how to transport the flood waters from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River, I think it should be done even if our drought goes away.
It’s time for our advanced society to control rivers, not the other way around.
Water mitigation efforts to avoid the recent flood disaster in Kentucky failed because of a lack of infrastructure. Overflow pipes should be installed on problematic rivers to divert only flood waters to our conduit to the West.
Instead of spending money on costly, inefficient desalination plants, just transport all that free water that is wasted and sent into the Gulf of Mexico. It will be stored in our huge reservoirs and distributed as needed as that pipe goes both ways.
Interesting lack of knowledge on US geography. And even less knowledge on how the great river systems in the US work. Sucking the Mississippi down would not have prevented the flooding in Kentucky. And flood abatement is their goal, well hell, they should be building a massive conduit to Death Valley which just suffered historic flooding this past week.
Of course many of us who live in the Midwest realize that our major rivers are controlled. They have any number of dams, power plants, levees, locks, and other controls built and maintained by that exact Army Corps of Engineers. And if memory serves, recent articles about maintaining clean rivers (PFAs and other chemicals) have mentioned that fifty or so cities rely on these rivers for drinking water. But I wouldn’t expect a letter to the editor writer with his head stuck in the sand to know any of that. Wanna have more infrastructure or supply chain problems in the US? Take enough water out of those rivers to impede barge traffic across the center of the nation.
Now, the two items I used above are extreme. But they came up in my news feed along with a number of others. If you Google diverting water from the Mississippi to the Colorado, there are a lot of other articles out there…many of them going back to early 2021.
This isn’t trivial. This is the kind of insane projects that can actually hit the planning board if that’s allowed to happen. But this kind of environmental re-engineering is certainly an underlying cause of the problems that the Southwest faces. And solutions need to be found but robbing Peter to pay Paul isn’t one of them. And I’d suggest they move to where the water is, but I don’t want most of them for neighbors.