This is just crazy enough that you would hope it might work, but it probably can’t.
As the soggy East tries to dry out from flooding and Texas prays for rain that doesn’t come, you might ask: Isn’t there some way to ship all that water from here to there?
It’s an idea that has tempted some, but reality gets in the way.
“One man’s flood control is another man’s water supply,” said Patricia Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. “Doesn’t it make you want to think about a larger distribution that helps both? That’s the crazy part of this. It’s a win-win. There’s no loser.”
But moving vast quantities of water is not simple or cheap, and thus not realistic, experts say. Mostly, it’s too costly and political.
However, these dreamed-up concepts show that a quiet water crisis is getting more desperate.
“We will go to any lengths to avoid confronting the reality of water shortages,” said University of Arizona law professor Robert Glennon, author of the book “Unquenchable.”
Water weighs a lot — about 8.3 pounds per gallon — so moving massive amounts, often up mountains, costs a lot, Glennon said. Gleick notes that conservation and efficiency are cheaper.
Building a pipeline to pump water from flooded areas is foolish because each year it is somewhere different that gets drenched, so you can’t build something permanent based on a couple of years’ unusual rainy weather, NOAA’s Halpert said.
Ah, well, it’s fun to think about anyway. But it would be better to spend the time thinking about how to use less of the water we already have.