COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | RON CARRICO

Water, water, almost everywhere — just not here

It is time to build that pipeline. No, not the oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf. But a water pipeline into California. Let’s face this simple fact: Our water shortage is not going away.

Even if our “average” rainfall returns, it will not be enough in future years to sustain California’s population growth. Nor will it meet the need of more water for our nation’s agriculture.

There are places in the country with too much water. Washington state and Oregon come to mind. Also, most years the Midwest has way too much water. This year the Midwest has a massive snow problem. Soon will come the spring thaw and massive flooding.

Why not consider a solution to both problems?

The simple solution for California is obvious: Get water to California by aqueduct or water pipe. This could help other parts of the country by perhaps lessening their annual flooding problems.

California already has an aqueduct system that brings (some would say steals) water from the Owens Valley and down the east side of the Sierra Nevada to be pumped over the hills into the San Joaquin Valley. This big idea of reallocating water from Northern California in the 1930s allowed Los Angeles to become the vast city it is today.

So why not think big again? Come on — we are the USA. We are supposed to be big thinkers and risk takers. We build continental railroads, move mountains and land on the moon. The challenge of moving water to where it is needed should be a national priority.

Looking at a U.S. map, some major rivers could be tapped to help the entire country. For instance, joining the Platte River to the Colorado River. How about a pipeline from the Snake River to Green River? Why not an aqueduct from the Columbia River to Sacramento River? Maybe a more involved plan joining the Missouri River to the Platte River to and on to the Colorado River.

I am sure there are obvious links along major highways or rail routes that avoid mountains and make building and service easier. Certainly, I have no idea how it would work. But let’s get the smart people (in and out of government) to work on this new national priority.

With our current water shortage, no relief in sight and obvious climate change, we should prepare to spread water around the country where needed. A nationwide water system is needed and the sooner we start the better.

This would be a huge project. Vastly expensive and complicated to be sure. But it would secure our food sources and keep the Southwest vital and moving.

Not only that, but it would employ thousands of Americans with jobs. These would be jobs that could not be shipped to foreign countries.

Carrico is a San Diego attorney and can be emailed at roncarrico@hotmail.com. Comments may be published as Letters to the Editor.

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