Nearly every time I write a newspaper story about water, and without fail every time I give a talk, I get a question about why we don’t just build a big canal from some wet place and bring the water here to the desert southwest.
It just seems so crazy to me – so over-the-top-engineering-costly-we-don’t-do-that-stuff-any-more crazy – that I don’t quite know how to explain why it’s not a practical idea. Can you say “NAWAPA“? But then there’s this, from one of the West’s leading water policy activators:
If innovative thinking is the key to solving Southern Nevada’s complex water puzzle, then Mulroy has a doozy of an idea. She suggests a massive public works project that not only could help relieve Colorado River Basin users but help solve the recurring problem of flooding in the Midwest.
“To me, it’s just counterintuitive,” she says. “One man’s flood-control project is another man’s water supply. You’ve got to remember that Hoover Dam was built as a flood-control project. That was its fundamental purpose: To prevent further flooding of the Imperial Valley down in Southern California.”
The idea is to build diversion dams for flood control and move the water to aquifers beneath the farmlands of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. If Colorado farmers don’t have to use Colorado River Basin water for their crops, it makes more water available to downstream users, like us.
I mean, if Pat Mulroy thinks it’s worth trying, who am I to call the idea batshit crazy? (h/t Emily Green)
I always thought we need a national water pipeline, something like maybe they use for oil in alaska.
That might be a great project to put a lot of people to work on, too bad the government wont spend any money.
No, it IS batshit crazy.
It’s batshit crazy if anyone EXCEPT Vegas pays for it.
Let them waste their money on their dreams. Oh, and charge her $200/af for “drawing on the resource.”
Thank goodness Mulroy isn’t in charge of an agency where she could do some real damage.
The problem with the oil/water pipeline comparison is the scale. I just did a quick calculation, and if I’ve done the numbers right, the amount of oil moved annually through the Alaska pipeline every day is about enough to serve a quarter of Albuquerque’s needs.
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George points out an editing error above. Here’s what I meant to say:
“If I’ve done the numbers right, the amount of oil moved through the Alaska pipeline every day is about enough to serve a quarter of Albuquerque’s needs.”