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Writer’s water proposals just don’t hold H20

When I read the letter to the editor in Sunday’s (March 21) Journal, “Water, water everywhere, except farms” … I was surprised by (the) obvious lack of knowledge on the topic, as well as naivety present. I assume (the author’s) attention is directed specifically at the U.S. Southwest rather than the entire world.

… Around 2.5% of all water (in the world) is considered drinkable and less than one-third of that can actually be made available for use – where the water is, how to actually get that water to where it is needed, in addition (to) having the legal right to that water … are serious issues. A good book that describes in some detail the water and/or lack of it in the West is the book “Cadillac Desert” by Marc Reisner, published in 1986; (it) is a valuable tool to understand water source and water needs in the Southwest. It is dated, but the issues are more relevant than when the book was written. (It is also helpful) to read about the impending water crisis on the Lower Colorado River and possible water restrictions being considered by as early as 2022 for water users.

Most of (the) list of possible actions to be taken have been explored by others in the past, and some continue into the present. Several of the proposed actions have not been considered because they are not possible or not in the realm of reality. These are as follows:

• Moving floodwaters from state to state would be not possible as the ability to capture, store and transmit would be not only cost-prohibitive, but also face numerous legal impediments.

• Transferring water from Canada to the United States is equally impossible. In the United States, we can’t even transfer water from state to state. Water is sadly seen by most people as something that can’t be shared.

• (The) discussion of flying pieces of glaciers to our lakes is more than a giant leap of faith. Evaluations of floating icebergs in the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to places like Santa Barbara have been performed to some extent in the past, as have thoughts of constructing a pipeline between those locations. I have never heard of “flying” pieces of glaciers anywhere to lakes as a source of water for farming or irrigation. At 8.34 pounds per gallon of water, the cost associated with transporting by air would be prohibitive.

One of the more sound ideas for the Colorado River issue is to construct sufficient desalination plants for the Colorado River water users along the coast, the cost of construction and energy to be provided by those not along the coast – Nevada and Arizona, for example – and let those along the coast use that water while letting Nevada and Arizona use the Lower Colorado water. The energy costs would be enormous using current power technology and would be blocked by environmentalists for any number of reasons.

The simplest solution is simply to not allow development or farming where there is no sustainable water supply. What a novel thought. Tell that to the folks in Las Vegas and Phoenix, along with Imperial Valley farmers.

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