Eastern Floods Could Benefit West
Transcontinental Aqueduct:
Drought Solution/Job Creation?
by Dan Ehrlich

The annual Midwest-south flood season is well underway, this time with the Mississippi River overflowing into Memphis, inundating entire neighborhoods. It would be a stretch to claim there mght be some benefit to these deluges.

Yet, people in these parts are getting used to their towns yearly being transformed into Waterworld. But just the opposite is the case in much of America’s Southwest, where drought conditions persist. And authorities don’t hold out much hope for a better future.

Annual flows in three prominent river basins – the Colorado, Rio Grande and San Joaquin – could decline by as much 8 percent to 14 percent over the next four decades, according to a new report from the Dept. of the Interior. This would affect water to eight states, from Wyoming to Texas and California, as well as to parts of Mexico.

The declining water supply comes as the West and Southwest, already among the fastest-growing parts of the country, continue to gain population, while drought conditions continue overall.

Water is something many Americans take for granted. Just turn on the tap or flush the toilet and pay the bill. But, if you live in a desert town such as Las Vegas, excessive water charges can make you appreciate this life giving liquid. Did you ever wonder what would happen if our major rivers dried up?

Seriously, if you're a believer in global warming, Al Gore or both, it's a possibility if the ice caps melt and the snow fall pattern changes as the government reports suggests.

The report notes that projected changes in temperature and precipitation are likely to alter the timing and quantity of stream flows in all Western river basins, with increased flooding possible in the winter due to early snow melt and water shortages in the summer due to reductions in spring and summer runoffs.

What would happen to our populations centers? Would they dry up, too? Or would we be forced to build and operate costly desalination plants to use water from the sea? There is another alternative.

President Obama campaigned on the promise of massive public works projects across the country to ease unemployment and restore facilities. Well, here’s probably the biggest and potentially most beneficial project he could undertake, one that would guarantee his name in US history other than being our first Black president... a transcontinental aqueduct.

There’s not much we can do to stop the annual torrential rains, twisters and floods that devastate the Midwest. Yet, all that water goes to waste in the Gulf of Mexico. It doesn’t have to be that way. Some good can come from these  floods if much of the water was diverted near its source or at its end.

Since much of the Midwest and East get too much water and the West not enough, why not send some west? Here’s one for our short-term thinking narrow-minded politicians…the greatest American public utilities project since the transcontinental railroad. Let’s build an aqueduct near the mouth of the Mississippi then through Texas, New New Mexico, Arizona and California. Another canal could  be constructed near the confluence of the Ohio and Missouri Rivers with the Mississippi, to relieve the flooding.

It can’t be done? Rubbish…the California aqueduct and canal system traverses mountains and desert. The only people that will prevent this project are visionless politicians who feel it would take so long to complete, they’ll be out of office so why should they care.

Of course, there is also the “states rights” gang in congress that will say; this is our water not California’s. But, they’re wrong. This is America and its America’s water. And the overwhelming fact we have to face is our politicians have failed the nation and us by not planning for the distant future after WW2.

Our leaders, who have failed to provide protection for our international borders, have also dropped the ball with this vital resource. We thought water and cheap gas would never vanish. Our politicians have never brought up the subject, often because of their own vested interests. But, it’s a reality now and we had better make plans for the future.

But, in addition to the aqueduct, major reservoirs would be developed in each of the states concerned to hold the seasonal overflow. Such a mammoth undertaking would also be an economic gold mine for the nation, with thousands of jobs created along with an enormous boost to ancillary industries supplying the project.

This is such a natural idea it's surprising no one has never been investigated before. Well, maybe not such a surprise since simple and sensible solutions are often overlooked by politicians and bureaucrats.

If the Romans could build aqueducts, why not us? Hell, we appear to be going down the same path as them. Why not have something marvelous to leave for posterity. If this interests you, write the Congress and the President.

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