Originally Posted by Riparian
Pipe the Mississippi to the Front Range? Nuts. Just look at the destruction of the wetlands downstream from New Orleans and how that makes hurricanes even more destructive in the Crescent City. Remove water from that river and that problem gets worse. All to accommodate more Kentucky Bluegrass in endless suburban sprawl? Nope, the tough solution is to get realistic about the actual carrying capacity of the arid land west of the 100th meridian.
Sorry, but I disagree. I'm from new orleans and intimately familiar with the issues there. Wetlands have shrunk because we built levees along the entire mississippi river corridor and prevented the annual cycle of flooding and deposition of silt, which is the main line for wetlands to get renewed. New orleans is below sea level and will get destroyed any time a big hurricane hits it. It doesn't matter if you have tons of wetlands or not, when the cat 5 storm comes, she's gonna be underwater. Taking a couple thousand cfs out of the mississippi won't change new orleans' fate, the way silt gets deposited, or the things that need to be done to make that situation better (if anything can be done...)
Also the mississippi carries enourmous silt loads and peaks over 1 million cfs. Taking a couple thousand cfs out of it (a fraction of a percent) wouldn't even be noticeable by the time you hit new orleans.
What makes more sense... one big pipe to collect water from our largest freshwater river in the country without having to build a huge dam, or... dam up every rocky mountain headwater river from idaho to new mexico and fight over it for the rest of creation and still not have enough for what we need?
The pipe and pumps would be enourmous and expenisive and one of the biggest infrastructure projects the US would undertake. Its this kind of thinking big and wholistically that will get us out of the piecemeal BS that currently cripples our ability to innovate and move into the future.
In my mind running a pipe across kansas and the eastern plains of colorado would be much less environmentally damaging that damning up every single colorado headwater river with any substantial flow. The cost would be staggering, but I bet its less than the iraq war. What would you rather have... fresh water for ever or blow up iraq?
From a big picture perspective, cali uses a lot of the colorado river compact water, and they sit right on an ocean with an unlimited supply of water. You just need to get your mind wrapped around desalination and that demand simply goes away, and its sustainable. Cali, with water shortages and high population will eventually get around to desalination. Power the desalination plant with renewable wind/solar/and wave energy, and you have a renewable water supply not dependent on drought years forever.
As a nation we've got our priorities wrong, and way too many people have the mentaility that "it can't be done". We've become a nation of naysayers with the foresight of a blindfolded jackass. At some point in time folks will have to wake up to the fact that we are going to have to do something different on a national and global scale. And that little turf wars over a pipe to the green river, or a reservoir in parker completely miss the big picture. Our current solutions are bandaids at best and miss the big picture.
It makes sense to do these types of projects, but in a completely capitalistic fractured society with a change of heart every time a new president gets elected, we won't ever get there.
Instead of wondering what this suburb will do in 10 yrs, we need to figure out what the country should do in the next 100.