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« Wasting a True Believer at Oregon DEQ | Main | 'Cadillac Swampland' or 'Florida Follies': Cynthia Barnett's 'Mirage' »

Saturday, 06 October 2007


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Every 20 years or so, someone decides it is time to propose massive water transfers- there were plans in the 1960's, for example, to build nuclear power plants to cover the energy cost of lifting all that water over the Rockies, in some cases from Hudson Bay. In the 1980's it was coal slurry pipelines, to get coal from Wyoming to places like Mississippi.

Before we go off on it again, I suggest everyone climb 5 flights of steps while carrying a couple of 5 gallon pails of water. Then sit and do the calculations as to the energy needs for moving significant water over the Rocky mountains. Water is HEAVY, and it takes energy to lift it. It is not economically viable today, and as energy prices increase, it will be even less so.

As earlier commenters have noted, the political roadblocks will make the economic ones look trivial. The Great Lake States control a large enough chunk of Congress to stop any such water transfer program dead in its tracks- and given the debt, they will get significant support from other parts of the US as well.

Richardson clearly was pandering- there is no way his comments can be taken as representing a well thought out position. Voters in the relatively water rich East should take notice, but so too should those in the arid West.


I believe I speak with some credibility on this subject. I am a resident of the semi-arid west; I am a civil engineer with a lot of experience with water projects; and I grew up around, on, and in the Great Lakes.

With my credentials thus established, I will go on to say that Richardson is out of his bloody mind if he thinks that a diversion of water from the Great Lakes is either economically or politically viable.

Furthermore, there is no advantage to anyone but politically ambitious USBR personnel in making USBR a cabinet-level position. That's all we need - another cabinet member trying to push his (or her) agenda ahead of national defense, environment, parks, education, etc.


Hi, Aaron.
You'll be pleased to know that the Governor has formed a "water cabinet" to advise him on New Mexico water issues.

Aaron o

I agree that they are welcome to move to the Great Lakes' States but they are not going to get a drop of our water. This issue cost the governor my support bigtime.

Michael Campana

That's great, Kelly! I'll have to use that. Another appropriate quote would be, "It's a desert, stupid!" (for a while, the "unofficial" motto of the water conservation folks at the City of Albuquerque).

Kelly D. Watson

I can’t resist the impulse to quote the late Sam Kinison who said "we have deserts in America we just don’t live in them." To the people of the southwest I say, we will not part with our water but if you want to move here, we will welcome you with open arms and you can have all the water you want.

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