If the problem is not fixed, millions of people will be left without water and electricity.
Photo: GLOBAL LOOK PRESS
The west coast of the United States is experiencing a severe shortage of fresh water. The region’s main water artery, the Colorado River, which feeds 7 states at once, including California with a population of 40 million people, gets smaller every year. According to USA Today, in the next few years, the river basin may reach the so-called “dead zone.” The level of the reservoir behind the Hoover Dam will drop sharply, the pressure of the streams will dry up, which means they will dry up downstream. Additionally, this dam provides electricity to the western states. If the problem is not fixed, millions of people will be left without water and electricity.
Experts frantically search for a solution. In the heat of the discussion, the most unexpected ideas are born, but they all seem far from reality. Here are some crazy ideas.
Drainage of the Great Lakes
The idea is to divert the vast amounts of fresh water from the Great Lakes to the Colorado River. To realize this project, it will be necessary to build an uphill pipeline that stretches for more than 1,500 kilometers, which is longer than any other water pipeline ever built. The pipes can be placed on a more easily accessible route, but this will extend the route by hundreds of kilometres. And the main problem is that the diversion of water from the Great Lakes is prohibited not only by US law, but also by an agreement with Canada.
Nuclear desalination plants
Dreams of desalinating water from the Pacific Ocean have long plagued the minds of engineers. Israel, Saudi Arabia and even California itself have had successful experiences of this type of work, but far from being on the required scale. First of all, desalination is a process that consumes a lot of energy. In addition, concentrated salt water will have to be dumped into the ocean, causing enormous environmental damage.
About 75% of Earth’s fresh water is contained in icebergs. The idea of melting them down and using that water is not new. However, no one has yet found an efficient way to get an iceberg to a processing site before it melts into the ocean.
A healthy tree consumes thousands of liters of water per year. Studies have shown that over the past 20 years, wildfires in the United States have released large amounts of water, filling river basins. Some enthusiasts call for forest removal in deprived states to free up this water. It is proposed to fell trees or burn them in a controlled manner. However, such a decision will inevitably trigger a chain reaction of indescribable proportions: the destruction of forests will exacerbate climate change and harm flora and fauna.
In the face of danger, there were also political disputes. The use of water from the Colorado River is governed by an agreement signed by 7 states in 1922. Despite radical population growth and climate change, consumption rates remain the same as a hundred years ago. Now the states are forced to review the agreement and reduce water consumption. But California isn’t ready to compromise and rejects all offers, demanding more water for itself at the expense of other states.