California is learning what Vegas has already discovered. Mad schemes to build a water pipeline from other states will be treated rather grumpily by the other states, the operative phrase being “Over our dead bodies.” Plus, pipelines cost billions to build and are expensive to maintain. Did I mention they need massive amounts of electricity to run the pumps and that many forms of electricity generation use large amounts of water for cooling?
William Shatner’s pie-in-the-sky plan to fund $30 billion on Kickstarter for a 4 foot diameter pipeline from the Columbia is quite simply, loony. One one thing, a 4 feet diameter isn’t nearly big enough. Also, it would almost certainly cost way more than $30 billion, because he apparently didn’t even consider the cost of buying water right and right-of-ways.
So California is thinking it needs a pipeline from the Columbia River in the State of Washington because those selfish Washingtonians are just wasting all that wonderful water by letting it flow in the ocean and using it for themselves. The nerve of those people!
Every time a new generation comes across the idea it sounds fresh, even sensible to some people. “Each day, the Columbia River dumps in the Pacific Ocean 90 billion gallons of fresh water,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn in 1990. “That is 3.7 billion gallons an hour, 61 million gallons a minute and 1 million gallons a second. That is wasteful and sinful.”
I had to think about that for a second. It is sinful for a river to flow to the sea? It’s a waste? God frowns upon it? I thought most rivers did that, except the Colorado.
Heh. The Colorado of course no longer flow into Gulf of Mexico because seven Western states including California suck it dry before it gets there.
George Skelton of the L.A. Times explores the goofy ideas that have been proposed through the years. Towing icebergs from the Arctic. An underwater pipeline from Alaska. Siphoning water out of the Great Lakes and the Columbia and rightfully says “Let’s get right to the point: They’re all nutty. Politically and financially unfeasible.”