Once again, all over again:
|Our East and Midwest are drowning in floods…||
Maine, Summer 2018
…while the West is on fire.
Colorado, Summer 2018
|Too wet in too many places…||
Florida, Fall 2018
|…and too dry in too many others.||
California, Summer 2018
But, what if…
Just fantasize along with me here for a minute, OK?
We built a pipeline system to control flooding in the East and Midwest, and sent that water to the West?
What if we did?
I’m not talking about siphoning off someone else’s water. I’m talking about floodwaters that evaporate or end up in sewers.
What if, before that water evaporated or went into sewers, we saved some of it, shipped it, and disbursed it to the West?
If we have the wherewithal to build the Keystone Pipeline for oil, surely we can build a cross-country pipeline for water?
The Keystone oil pipeline, according to the TransCanada website (the pipeline owner) runs from Alberta, Canada to Houston, TX, about 2,687 miles.
The distance from New York to San Diego is about 2,760 miles.
There are so many reasons to move this from the realm of “What if” to “Why not”:
Saving lives: Every year people die in floods and fires. Flood control in one part of the country could ease the dry, fire-prone conditions in another part.
Saving money: Every year fires and floods cost billions, and insurance costs increase.
Stopping trauma: Every year victims of floods and wildfires are traumatized by deaths, injuries, loss of homes and businesses.
Stopping waste: Every year we lose vital infrastructure, and natural resources like forests and other ecosystems.
But a little time online shows that, of course, I’m not the first person to think about this. There are plenty of reasons to move from “What if” to “Here’s why not”:
Pipelines are expensive: Fossil fuels are laden with profits while water is not. This morning the cost of gasoline is $2.90 per gallon. On my last bill (not including all those unidentifiable fees) I paid $3 for 1,000 gallons of water.
One gallon vs…
Right of way: People along the pipeline route might not agree to having it on their land. Business owners who might be displaced or negatively impacted won’t support the idea, either.
Location: Not many places flood on a reliable timetable, so some parts of the pipeline might be unused for decades.
Invasive species: The chance for the introduction of invasive species such as the zebra mussel, grass carp, etc. would be great.
I know this country has the smarts, the money, and the ability to build a water pipeline.
But perhaps we lack the leadership, the imagination, and the guts to make it happen.
So I guess my fantasy will remain a fantasy.
And I’ll keep wondering…