NO MORE “FLUSHING RIVERS RIVERS TO THE OCEAN
As oceans rise with global warming and melting ice, it may be good for fish but bad for Manhattan, Miami’s South Beach, Shanghai, and Mumbai. What a waste of priceless real estate when oceans don’t need another drop of our fresh water. It would be better on the earth’s parched, arid areas.
What to do?
No more rivers running into the ocean. Redirect the river flush to drought-stricken land that could support life and become productive.
Impossible, you say? Take the Colorado. Most all the flow goes to dry lands for orange farmers and thirsty city folk. At the river’s midpoints, white-water rafters navigate towering haystacks of water flooding the banks. After L.A., San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Santa Fe all take a sip, little or nothing is flushed into the Bay of California. A trivial loss for the Pacific but millions of Angelenos aren’t complaining.
We should do the same for the Mississippi, Amazon, and Ganges.I
Irrigate parched dead parts of the earth. Farming has to be Better use of fresh water than raising the sea level?
IMPOSSIBLE, YOU SAY?
It is hardly a new concept. In Roman times, the Nile River flooded its arid valley, and the valley fed the Empire. Roman emperors couldn’t see a body of water without wanting to move it by an aqueduct. So, with no power tools, they built eleven different aqueducts to hydrate their capital city. Years later, New York created a 30-foot diameter water pipe from the Catskill mountains to the Big Apple. The California aqueduct runs 444 miles, is 110 ft by 40 feet, and carries 13,000 cu ft of water. These projects were grand in their day, but now they’re yesterday’s news. Today with modern techniques, we could redistribute the Mississippi to where it’s desperately needed.
Think bigger: With engineering, time, and finance, the Sahara Desert would be a better destination for the Amazon River water. Dumping it into the Atlantic is an unimaginative waste. How about creating the great Sahara bread basket or rice paddy? Or build a sunny lake district with miles of lakefront property. There has to be something more useful for river water than raising the sea and sinking poor old Venice. Political and environmental obstacles may be insurmountable today, but that’s only because, at present, the nay-sayers still have their heads above water. Saying goodbye to Manhattan and South Beach while looking at their flooded basement and patio may concentrate their minds.
THEN THINK SMALL
Piping the Amazon flow all the way to Africa seems too grandiose for you.How about an easy first baby step? After the era peak oil, we’ll see redundant ocean-going oil tankers. Decarbonization will leave a fleet of eight hundred VLCC tankers sitting idle. Each holds 2 million barrels of liquid. Fill those tankers with the clean water cascading into the Atlantic from Greenland and the Antarctic ice shelf. Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, or Chile would pay handsomely for that potable flow. After all, the alternatives, such as desalinization plants, check in at a billion dollars each (before operating costs). Those plants create terrible environmental damage to the ocean.
There may be reasons for allowing rivers to reach the sea, but there’s a better argument for redirecting more of that resource away from the sea. If doubts remain in your mind, ask any of the half million Maldives Islanders. Their land is sinking, and they have about 25 years left before they leave or float away.