And much of this is across already arid, water starved land. I'm guessing West Texas and New Mexico will want their own cut of water in return for permitting the project to cut their states in two. You might need to double your total take to satisfy everybody.
The California Aqueduct was a megaproject that started over 70 years ago and the aforementioned Edmonston Pumping Station was turned on in 1973. At this point, the biggest challenge would be the right of way and litigation since the engineering has long been a solved problem. Those in California can go see the aqueduct exit the Sierra Nevada mountains at the edge of Bakersfield  and hiking trails around Lake Isabella intersect with open parts of the aqueduct where you can see all the water rushing by (don't fall in!). Imagine that, but like five or six times bigger.
I totally agree. I live in SoCal and there are some infrastructure projects that took forever (ie creating the I105 and finish connecting the I210), or will probably never get completed (ie. finish connecting the I710 and California High Speed Rail) all because of right of way issues and lots of law suits.
Granted, this was during the great financial crisis so they may be doing better now.
I was curious, so some rough estimates: About 1m kg of water per second, lifted about 1km implies about 10GW of continuous power, or about 86 TWh annually assuming the scheme runs continuously, which is about 2% of annual generation. So enormous, but on the scale of feasible, a bit to my surprise.
It was, and still is, plain old stupid to build those giant cities in those barren deserts. The idea that we'd all have to pay for pipelines to push that water all those miles feels a bit painful to me now, and the complete lack of any discussion about the environmental impact of doing this very bothersome too.
There are many other issues to consider, like the quality of that Mississippi water. They don't call that river "The Big Muddy" for nothing. And there is still a lot of industry that use and dumped used water into it, and farms that have runoff of pesticides all along it and it's tributaries.
The total driving distance from New Orleans to Las Vegas is 1,722 miles. I doubt you can route a pipeline in a way that reduces that much. The cost and environmental impact of building one would be enormous.
This plan feels like it was concocted by someone who's never driven from Las Vegas to New Orleans, or spent anytime on or around the Mississippi River. It gets low on water too. There are droughts in the mid-west too.
Truth is there is no good sustainable solution to this problem as it exist. The only reasonable solution is to stop building new homes right now, and look into how to reduce the number that exists because it's obvious they've already overbuilt.
It's hard for me to imagine anyone with a lick of sense taking this seriously, but that's a shortcoming of mine I am well aware of nowadays.
Yep, reduce housing, don’t build more. Nobody wants to admit it because it doesn’t sound nice.
It’s this kind of content that screams propaganda of the worst kind.
It sounds crazy that we're even talking about this.
those are not comparable.
You might as well compare Chernobyl to a place that has bad restaurants.
they're exactly the same.thing!
At this scale, regional sustainability is an illusion. Even the Amazon rainforest is not sustainable without _transcontinental_ winds that carry massive amounts of nutrients from African dry lake beds to South America . Make no mistake, we're not just talking about the sustainibility of cities in the western US but food security and quality of life for the entire United States.
Vegas went from 230,000 in 1970 to over 2.5 million residents in those years.
Phoenix from 870,000 to 4,652,000.
Riverside County from 44,579 to 2,544,820
So now we've got over 10 Million people living in the desert in just 3 those areas.
Aside from that, I lived in Sylmar, Ca in the `70s on the last parcel of ag zoned land there, so yeah, we did grow there.
When we bought our place there was a small 2 bedroon home on it, an orchard of fruit trees, a large garden, and we raised chickens and rabbits and a few cows (one at a time) there.
Our home was the oldest house in Sylmar at the time and it was akin to an oasis compared to most of the homes there. Because of the ag zoning we had two water lines, one for the home and one for the orchard & garden and we got a huge discount on the ag water line.
In agriculture, Riverside County is the 13th most productive county in the state in planted crops with $1.2 billion in cash receipts on about 210,000 acres . That's more than any single county in Florida  based on crop value and the entire state of Florida produces 5-6 times more agricultural products than Riverside County on ten times the acreage. Most of that is in the Coachella Valley that is adjacent to Palm Springs/Desert Hot Springs and this productivity is despite the massive environmental disaster that is the Salton Sea .
I don't have an agricultural report on hand for Maricopa County (Phoenix) but based off a cursory search it produces about a third of the agricultural output of Arizona, which as a whole totals half the cash receipts of Florida's industry, despite a third of the population (though I believe AZ is a lot less productive per acre than FL because it's a lot of pasture).
Now, don't get me wrong: analyzing agricultural productivity - let alone the sustainability of entire metropolises - in dollars per anything is a fool's errand that obliterates all nuance. I'm just trying to illustrate that most  of these cities weren't dropped in the middle of desolate wastelands by hopeless fools that kept on attracting more fools. They were founded because the deserts of the southwest provide an ideal environment and all we needed to do was bring a single ingredient. Just take a look at Phoenix in 1885 : farmland as far as the eye can see, half a century before pumping mass amounts of groundwater for agriculture was even an option.
When it comes to the food people want to eat, each  of these regions more than pull their own weight . Unless we plan on transitioning the entire country to a wheat/corn/beef/pork/chicken-only diet or significantly decreasing food security or quality of life for everyone, we have to come to terms with the fact that the entire country is not sustainable without the Southwest, which means the region's water supply a national concern. We could completely depopulate all the big cities in Arizona, Nevada, and California without saving as much as a fifth of the water we currently use because the rest is used to feed the nation.
 2020 numbers: http://www.rivcoawm.org/Portals/0/PDF/2020-Crop%20Report.pdf
 Florida was first wet state that came to mind and it's top third to middle of the pack nationally in agriculture depending on the specific food group so I think it's representative. 2017 numbers: https://www.fdacs.gov/Agriculture-Industry/Florida-Agricultu...
 More precisely, farmers caused that disaster to begin with, but the area is recovering and they are are adopting more sustainable techniques.
 I'm ignoring Vegas because it's an outlier that started out as a supply stop for the United Pacific railroad. It only grew to its current ridiculous size when Nevada legalized gambling and the economic activity from the construction of the Hoover dam let the gambling industry develop a permanent foothold that sustained the city.
 We'd actually need to look at export numbers to get a more accurate picture but i.e. nearly half of Arizona's agriculture is exported if I'm understanding the ag department correctly.
I don't have a problem with moving water to support agriculture in those State. That's something that was fairly well solved in the San Joaquin Valley long ago.
But that is not what this opinion piece purposes. They summed that up with "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."
That is an entirely different issue. In all of Arizona there are approximately 138,000 people that work in agriculture. That's not even in the top 10 industries in Phoenix. About 40% of the water used in Phoenix is used for farming. Phoenix-area residents use over 50% of the water they get from city water supplies for watering lawns and maintaining swimming pools. 
When you look at the growth of metro areas there it seems pretty clear to me that growth is not sustainable.
Granted, maintaining lawns and outdoor swimming pools in a desert is really stupid but you're zooming in on an urban (as much as you're going to get in Arizona) city where land is too valuable to make most farming worth while. If you zoom out to Maricopa county , despite the concentrated population of Phoenix, the numbers flip around and about 60% of the water goes to agriculture with another 10% or so industrial with the remaining 30% municipal (though to be honest, I thought those figures would look more like California with an 80-20 split at most).
Maybe if manifest destiny had played out differently and we had planned our westward expansion better all those people in Phoenix and LA would be living in the PNW or the swamps of the south and they'd still have access to Arizona lettuce and California avacados, but that ship has sailed. We can't, as a nation, have our cake by depopulating the west and eat it too by depending on all the agriculture the region produces. When push comes to shove, metro areas will get priority over agriculture and environmental concerns so the entire country is going to have to sacrifice regardless.
"Ten Civilizations or Nations That Collapsed From Drought":
Let the desert return to being a desert.
But Las Vegas is treating almost all of the water it uses and ends up being very close to water neutral.
This is clearly an area to think at a larger, national level like the thinking which led to the Hoover Dam and national highway systems. Anything less is shrinking away from the problem.
Sounds like an opportunity to clean the water and bill the polluters for the cost. If only…
I get the feeling the person who wrote that has never actually seen the Mississippi River. It's far from a clear mountain stream you'd walk up to and sip water from. It's not something you'd even want to swim in on a hot day.
I don't know what the state of soil is in California but adding more can only be a good thing.
- where I live: 202l 
- US: >1135l 
US household consumption share of total water usage: 12% .
Just reducing household usage to 50% more than a random wealthy northwestern European region instead of 560%(!) more equals 10% total water usage savings. That's without even touching agriculture or other water hungry sectors.
Aligning usage to be a little less out of line with production seems like the obvious answer here.
- But you live in Europe, not the US. You couldn't possibly know how miserable life would be without watering my lawn in the middle of the desert. And what would the neighbours say?
- We only have one earth. It's _ours_ you know, not just yours. And our children's. And our children's children's..."
 https://www.vmm.be/data/gemiddeld-leidingwaterverbruik-gezin... (nl)
Under the state’s ridiculously baroque system of senior water rights, just because someone was first to nail a notice to a tree by a river in the 19th Century, everybody else in the area has to cut their water consumption to zero before their allocation can be reduced. No state politician has been brave enough to fix this because reform would be tied down in litigation for decades, as in Mark Twain’s possibly apocryphal quote that “whisky is for drinking and water’s for fighting over.”
This broken system does not incentivize efficient drip irrigation, in many places they simply flood the fields with water, and you have absurdities like the despicable Saudis buying up land with senior rights and growing alfalfa, a low-value and water-intensive crop they export to Arabia to feed cows, which is basically laundering water exports.
I think this is the biggest issue with every resource and climate issue right now. As soon as you point out something significant, somebody pops up with "But that's not the real issue", and points to another three.
US domestic, residential resource usage (water, raw energy, fossil fuel) is so amazingly out of whack with the rest of the world that it's starting to demoralise the rest of us.
This is a problem that can be fixed but it won't if you just want to point at other problems.
These “arguments” for “personal responsibility” are increasingly shallow. The rhetorical equivalent of grabbing someones whole arm, forcing that arm to hit themselves, and asking “why are you hitting yourself? You’re so silly!” Ie abuse.
The US needs to take national responsibility for energy consumption and water use. From agriculture to residential and everything in between. That will involve a lot of Federal and state funded infrastructure but also a lot of subsidised home improvement, and tax. The whole US needs to take this seriously, we all do.
Just to reiterate, I'm not saying we should ignore any of the issues you talked about; rather it's your approach of ignoring domestic because of argri that I think sends the wrong message to everyone.
If you focus on household water usage, you'll have many people oppose your effort because they don't want to take shorter showers or buy a new washing machine. If you point out that some corporation is paying pennies to drain an aquifer to grow a water-intensive crop like almonds in the desert, it's easier to get the political base to affect real change.
Basically, you can try to get the majority of people to choose the greater societal good over their own comfort and convenience (good luck, humans suck) or you can try to convince enough of them to not let the almond farmers continue pillaging the shared water supply, which feels more politically viable.
If you mandate low flow (eg 6l/minute, half regular showers) via building code, and strengthen water efficiency standards for appliances, make company licensing factor in energy and water usage, and in tougher times, enforce hosepipe and sprinkler bans, private pools, etc... then it makes it a lot easier to lean on agri.
There might be a strong enough argument for prioritising agriculture, but that's only something you can start to appreciate once you appreciate the cost of water, which you can't if your only experience is that it's limitless at every point of use.
Sorry I might be ignorant but this sounds ridiculous. How could that ever be economically viable? If you wanted to import water, there are plenty of places (less populated than California) closer to the Arabic peninsula
(not on the other side of the world) where water is more plentiful.
This makes no sense as a response. Water usage is a local issue where water goes through X rather than Y. Water usage in Pakistan has zero effect on Germany, unlike CO2 emmissions.
If an entire river got diverted to lawns then the effects would only be between the divert point and the sea (in the form of the river nor being available for other people to divert from and animal life not having a river to live in) and even those effects are mostly temporary. Heck, lawn water mostly goes back in to the water table, with the rest evaporating to make clouds to then fall back as rain.
Not entirely accurate:
> The virtual water trade (also known as embedded or embodied water) is the hidden flow of water in food or other commodities that are traded from one place to another. The virtual water trade is the idea that when goods and services are exchanged, so is virtual water.
A concrete example from another comment:
> With the Saudi Arabian landscape there being mostly desert and alfalfa being a water-intensive crop, growing it there has always been expensive and draining on scarce water resources, to the point that the Saudi government finally outlawed the practice in 2016. In the wake of the ban, Almarai decided to purchase land wherever it is cheap and has favorable water conditions to produce enough feed for its 93,000 cows.
Cloud seeding is being studied.
That's more than 5x less than the US. It's quite plausible the average family size and environmental conditions in Flanders differ quite a bit from that in the US, but it's still a huge disparity, and according to the second link a lot of that seems to be down to domestic irrigation. Tackling that wouldn't be very popular, of course.
I half agree with the author in that "conservation simply can’t do the job" but their supposition seems to be framed as household use alone.
Conservation changes / remove wasteful agriculture would be plenty.
I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children’s children, because I don’t think children should be having sex. (Jack Handey)
Actually it’s the opposite.
“People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once.”
I mean, we have harder regulations on water useage in the alps, and this is a water rich area where only 3% of the a available water is used. The truth is that the water a land will provide is limited. And of course you could expand this water by also taking the water from another land, but maybe pitting a little effort into not wasting water for unnecessary stuff would already do wonders?
And building all those chip foundries in Texas isn't going to help.
Some of those measures could be permanent (given the fact that it is going to get worse) others could be limited to especially dry years/seasons.
Regulating water use in a friggin' desert is common sense. How much worth is a culture when it cannot even reach that low bar of rationality?
It's truly comical that consumers are expected to make all these huge sacrifices, when the only sacrifice necessary is the ink and paper necessary for reform.
All it takes it a desire to return to reality. Irrigating deserts is generally a bad idea.
There's a bootstrap problem to be solved. If you want water, you need ground-covering plants, which need moist loamy soil, which needs water, and so on. For any of this to work you need to start by turning as much grassland as you can get into pasture (with irrigation, sadly, which needs water) and grazing it with livestock, and then kind of building that out over time.
Monoculture arable farming makes deserts. You need to stop doing that.
Having no residential water restriction certainly doesn't help voters understand that water availability is a problem.
People have limited ceilings for these types of things. Of anything you need to have at least equal measure measure, but preferably greater measure of industrial controls on scarce resource consumption.
Note that the premium amount they would be willing to pay is approximately $0.0017 per litre, delivered treated to their doorstep.
 https://www.phoenix.gov/rates# says ~$5/unit, with each unit being ~750 gallons, or ~2850 litres
I’d be more concerned about the insane water rights problems being shoved upstream to people in the great lakes basins.
Telling me I can’t collect rain water to water my garden so somebody who lives in a dessert 2,000 miles away can be guaranteed the ability to water their lawn is insanity.
Is this water frugal agriculture appropriate for the climate and actual supply, or is it water exuberant agriculture (avocados, sugar beets, applies, apricots, walnuts, cherries, peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, prunes, figs, kiwis, etc)?
Percentages alone don't tell the whole story.
Of course not.
But if you own some land which is worth $x00,000,000 when irrigated with subsidised water and only $x,000,000 when it's not, and you can give $x0,000 for lobbying to "protect farming jobs and keep food prices low" by giving you your subsidy? Paying $x0,000 a year is good business sense.
The only thing you need water for is the green. Not that I see golf going back to that.
First, that water would be used for other things if it wasn’t used for golf courses. There are lots of other potential uses for reclaimed water. Second, less than 20% of golf course water is actually from reclaimed sources.
Based on this thread, I would guess that a large amount of the problem will not be an engineering one, but political and social one. Constructing such a large mega project to divert would require a national unity and tremendous will to 'sculpt' nature.
So much water in that lake, right? But it went from 4th largest in the world to no lake.
The letter proposed in this thread seems to understand the danger of the taking too much water and thus propose a reasonable limits of 2.5-5%. The limits could change based on a more detailed feasibility studies (which is the main point of the author, let's think about it.)
But concern for quality of environment for others vs corporate profit? Hmm not sure. The initial overuse of water resources in the West, endless stories of top soil and water table irreversible pollution with one chemical or other, or the reports that gas and oil companies had a full perspective in global warming in 1990s...
I'd agree, there possibly is an amount of water you could safely divert, and it is this kind of study that would determine it, but I'm not sure if the end result would reflect a sustainable solution.
But in my personal guess, a strong NGO/political activism by CA could influence the canal for the better. After all, construction of such canal, aside from having the support of the Federal Government, would requires an interstate compact/agreement. California would probably impose a decent environmental standard. Furthermore, Southeast states would also impose a strong limitation on the waters they will agree to divert. Unlike China, US States has strong sovereignty on matter like this and it would probably lead to some kind of equilibrium on the 'sustainable' water diversion rate.
What happens when that becomes not enough?
At this point, there is no feasibility studies on the NA East-West water canal. There is no idea on how efficient it is vs desalination (in terms of energy), its ecological impact, and the required cost for the design and construction.
My main idea is that we should not dismiss the idea and that the Army Engineering Corps should at least do feasibility studies on it*. A proper feasibility studies could unveil the true challenge, benefits, and disadvantage (rather than anecdotal guess) of the water canal.
I am not exactly familiar with the NA Southwest and Southeast but the canal could possibility bring other benefits, such as reducing the heat in the region and opening up new land for farming and irrigation. It could have a trigger a new economic growth while at the same time, reducing flood risk at the Southeast. There is also a possibility that the this could trigger a transfer of wealth (in terms of payment for water, technical skills etc) from the relatively prosperous south West Coast to the Southeast, reducing inequality. Of course, I am not eliminating the possibility that the canal could be a white elephant and trigger untold ecological and natural disaster, but unless a feasibility studies is conducted, we never know.
*US Government, or at least the Federal Entity, are already doing multiple kind of planning and research for dizzying array of contingency. Why should the same mindset is not applied for possible infrastructure development?
> The Waterways Journal noted talks to tap the Mississippi River for western states goes back decades. "The Bureau of Reclamation did a thorough study of the idea of pumping Mississippi River water to Arizona in 2012, concluding that the project would cost $14 billion (in 2012 dollars) and take 30 years to complete. As recently as 2021, the Arizona state legislature urged Congress to fund a technological and feasibility study of a diversion dam and pipeline scheme to harvest floodwater from the Mississippi River to replenish the Colorado River."
We need to price water properly first, then we can see if it even makes sense to farm in the desert or to ship water out there. At the moment it seems not to, not while we have better places
TL;DR: 2.1 calories/gallon for almonds, 5.3 c/g for tofu, 1,558 c/g for beef.
Almonds consume 3.2 gallons of water each for just shy of 7 calories. 2.18 calories per gallon.
Cows consume ~3,200 gallons of water from birth to slaughter, where they produce about 6 million calories. 1,875 calories per gallon.
An additional 50 bales of hay to feed it over its lifetime (really hay is half the diet but its late and I'm just doubling it). Approximately 1,300 gallons per acre, which produces 100 bales - 13 gallons per bale - 650 gallons to grow the food. That is still 1,558 calories per gallon of water.
I found a recipe online that used about a gallon of water (rinsing and as an ingredient) for 1 pound of tofu. 10,000 gallons to produce one bushel (or 60 pounds) of soybeans. 166 gallons per pound. A pound is 2.6 cups, recipe wants 1 cup. 63 gallons per cup. 64 gallons made into tofu. 344 calories per pound of tofu. 5.3 calories per gallon of water consumed.
A cow drinks 9-12 gallons per day  (assuming not lactating, which takes a lot more water; let's just say these are cows being raised purely for slaughter). Call it 10 gallons/day on average.
Cows raised for slaughter live 4-6 years . Call it 5 years on average.
10 gallons/day * 355 days/year * 5 years/cow ≈ 17750 gallons/cow.
Finally, the amount of energy in a cow as sold in retail stores is about 500,000 kcal . That works out to about 30 kcal/gallon.
Having raised cows and some Googling. Your numbers are for dairy cows and not meat cows. Dairy cows consume a ton of water because they are intended to produce a liquid nearly non-stop, and while they are eventually slaughtered for meat it mostly ends up in dog food.
If being vegetarian or vegan is an important value to you then the real way to make real lasting progress is by trying to persuade and convince people, not by trying to force or otherwise coerce them into agreeing with you. The same as on any topic.
Taper down the subsidies over time rather than implementing them over night.
"If we intentionally implement this policy change in the dumbest, bluntest way possible, it will be disruptive" is an argument for never making any policy change.
Trying to end meat consumption is going to result in a Great Leap Forward-type disaster. We need to be looking at the ecology holistically and try to work with nature and the sustainable processes that generated what we have now, not burn it all down we can grow more of what's short-term efficient on spreadsheets for one single dimension.
Another interesting datum is that the average head of cattle has a water footprint of 2056 (m^3/year), while it's 2842  for the average American, and 1071 for the average Chinese. There are 94 million cattle in the US, and 332 million people.
 - https://waterfootprint.org/en/water-footprint/product-water-...
 - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221830102_The_Water...
Reducing the flow of water in Louisiana by 5% would not have noticeable impact on the state’s environment when you consider that annual variability of water flow must be far higher than 5% for such a vast and dynamic watershed. If that kind of annual variability is not often creating headlines, outside of flooding - for which this kind of project could only help, then it’s difficult to imagine how a far smaller variance would have meaningful impact.
I saw a documentary recently about canals that will be used to direct sediment into the barrier islands before it reaches the Gulf.
>Until this USGS study was undertaken, environmental managers thought that the principal cause of barrier island erosion was rising sea level. Now, we know that both the longshore movement of sediment and the general absence of sand-sized sediment is the principal cause of the islands' instability. The sediments underlying coastal Louisiana are made up mostly of silts and muds which do not contribute to the building of beaches, dunes, and spits—geomorphic features associated with healthy barrier islands. In addition, long-shore currents redistribute the available sand from headland areas to embayments, depriving shorelines of much needed sand.
Sending the Colorado water to Los Angeles was already completely stupid. This river runs completely dry in Mexico.
> 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.
The article seems to use California as an example in a couple places, for example
> 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.
but I think, at least, the main beneficiaries would be the Southwest states. (?)
And Los Angeles also gets some water by another gigantic water system coming all the way from northern California collecting the melting snow from the high Sierras.
"Los Angeles" is a bit of the loose term because the central valley is connected to the same system for agricultural needs.
I think it's really the bleak future to look at as an example, Phoenix is still small enough that it doesn't yet use more than its alotment of the Colorado river. But clearly the article is looking at artificially propping up Phoenix in the future the way Los Angles is right now.
Edit: and in the terminator 2 movie, this is not a rain ditch, it’s supposed to be an actual river.
There are a handful of States that contribute to the Colorado River including Mexican States and that river (or what’s left of it by the time it gets that far) discharges into the Gulf of California.
Changing supply anywhere in that basin effectively increases water supply in the whole basin but uh, much like extra RAM and highway lanes, it’ll probably just get used up. So the question is really whether Mississippi River consumers and US taxpayers subsidize our lives out here in the American West? I suppose sucking the government teat is a time honored American tradition, just not one I’m fond of.
We also probably shouldn't be growing water-intensive crops in places that don't have water, nor eating ourselves into an early grave but eating twice as much red meat (which is far more water-intensive than the overly vilified almond) as we should be.
According to Wunderground's three-part series about the ORCS, there is some uncertainty as to whether it will be able to keep the Mississippi River on its current route without failure.
Cadallic desert is a good
But infrastructure to move water around your country especially when a large chunk is a desert makes perfect sense. I originally imagined this would mean somehow exploiting the Great Lakes but the argument suggested here seems quite practical.
Not saying wasteful agriculture on export crops shouldn’t be banned (it should) and perhaps people should stop having so many golf courses, but free flowing water is a true mark of advanced Civilization and it’s not unfair for a country to build the infra to guarantee it.
This godlike arrogance thinking we can just rearrange the earth on a whim for our needs is the fucking problem. This is why humanity is a cancer.
It's not like it's a small operation. There are canneries almost a mile long. There are small mountains of peach pits that form when they're processed (these are used for other purposes by the way!).
What about mature orchards?
I'm not sure why people hate California so much. It's got a lot of problems, like most places... But it's pretty amazing how much shit goes on there.
But the agriculture in California in the face of climate change is completely unsustainable. It is up there with the coal mining and fracking in Pennsylvania.
We need to properly manage the crisis and reduce the amount of human suffering involved because uprooting people in painful.
The alternative seems like we could wind up having literal water wars at some point. This proposal caps the diversion at 5% but that seems the same as building more freeways to me, which just causes more traffic. Give California more water and the agricultural industry will expand and you'll kick the can down the road again.
On the other hand, the engineering to elevate that much water will be interesting.
More recently, the Libyan government built the Great Man-Made Project, which was thousands of kilometers of pipes pumping water from desert aquifers in the south to the cities in the north, which sounds like one of those crazy dictator megalomaniac ego projects but actually had a tremendous amount of impact (assuming there's as much water in the aquifers they're draining as they think).
Anyway, I highly doubt the modern US government has the capability to build a thousand miles of pipeline over the continental divide.
Although it would be interesting to have California dependent on red states.
A better solution is to just do nuclear desalination from the ocean like the Arabs do.
Los Angles takes 1.2 million acre feet of water from the Colorado. Replace that with desalinization, no heep big canal needed.
The only thing this requires is for Californian government to get their head out of their asses, and stop expecting everyone else to just bend over backwards for them.
except with narrower pipes and no wells, but adding a need for pumping stations.
California hasn't built a new reservoir since 1979 when it only had 23 million people.
Build more reservoirs. Right now wet years are flowing into the ocean.
Changing the water supply changes the environment of the entire region. It's needed for human survival. Surely you can see how that's different that exporting more or fewer iPhones, right?
How does one build a canal that moves water uphill for 1500 miles across the continental divide in these quantities? If not a canal, then how do we do it? Pipes?
We're talking a million cubic feet per second in the Colorado river during high times, which has been completely drained and diverted by communities downstream.
The keystone pipeline carries 50 cubic feet per second. The largest pipeline in the world carries 1.5x that. Nowhere close to what a functional river provides.
So, either antigravity so the Mississippi flows uphill, or 20,000 keystone pipelines.
Desalination plus local pumping is much, much less science fiction.
Tunnels, alternate locations,using solar and wind to generate pump power and once operational, using a dam to supplement the pump with hydroelectric power.
I mean, this is one challenging area where the best and brightest should be well funded to come up with a solution instead of writing them off.
Desalination is not a dream either.
People are fine to talk about colonizing other planets but are so dismissive of acheivable goals like this.
Trillions are spent on wars, a fraction of that can be used to desalinate water or create artificial rivers and tunnels to fill up artificial lakes.
My idea personally has been to build in parallel to the interstar highways and complement it with high speed railways and artificial rivers. The resulting econominc boom will pay for the cost and you don't need to print money, it can be bonded because you charge for the infrasteucture usage (train,power,car charger and water fees).
Why do you insist it isn't solvable?the tech is there, the money is there, the will is there. Do you have a better solution that acheives the dam goal or is your idea "someone else should figure it out?" Not being dismissive, I would like to know what it is. Population will grow and areas that are already occupied will become less and less habitable. Where else should people live in Nevada? In California, it is already filled with people to the brim in and out of the dessert.
I'm also just very unimpressed by this particular letter to the editor. Maybe it's a good idea, but it definitely doesn't sell it
If you want research into how to divert the Mississippi River to Arizona, you've started off backwards.
The problem is lack of renewable water in socal, AZ, CO, Las Vegas, etc, and the solution might be just to reduce demand, increase reclamation, and add in some new renewable water sources like desalination. That seems insanely more viable. Let's see that study first.
Fundamentally altering these areas will not only solve the immediate problem but cause economic growth and solve a myriad of other problems like food shortages, homelessness,etc... you are talking about the equivalent of repairing roads, I am suggesting building the equivalent of the interstate highways which were until recently the biggest spending ever and resulted in the biggest economic growth ever.