The Southern Nevada Water Authority recently commissioned a 3/4 million-dollar study of a dozen river water augmentation alternatives; the final report is out, and a pipe to the Great Lakes didn't even make the list. Not that there weren't some screwy ideas considered.
When it comes to squeezing every drop from the shrinking sponge of the Colorado River, few options, it seems, are too complicated or expensive.Don't they do a lot of cloud seeding in China? Desperate times call for desperate measures.
A new report examines 12 ideas for augmenting the river's flow (pictured), and not even the most audacious of the plans -- importing icebergs, for example -- has been rejected out of hand.
Among the most cost-effective options is seeding clouds in an effort to increase snowfall at the headwaters of the Colorado River system. According to the report, cloud seeding could produce as much as 1.4 million acre-feet of additional water a year at a cost of $20 to $30 per acre-foot.
Eliminating an invasive species to save water works for us.
The report concludes that a significant amount of water, perhaps as much as 150,000 acre-feet, could be saved by removing salt cedar groves along the banks of the river and its tributaries..
Left unchecked, the nonnative plant could spread from its current range of about 300,000 acres to 600,000 acres by 2020, siphoning as much as 1 million acre-feet more from the river in the process
It's a good idea to take a creative approach to water supply augmentation, as the threat climate change poses to the US West is very serious. See also "Western U.S. Heating Up Almost Twice as Fast as Rest of the World"
A tabular summary of the twelve augmentation alternatives is presented here.
Reiterating from previous posts, if water demand dramatically outgrows supply in the US West, events will unfold approximately in this manner.
Agricultural productivity will fall off (See California Farmers To Forgo Planting: Sell Water To Thirsty Cities Instead)
Mining and other water intensive industries will be squeezed, and possibly lose operating permits.
Water prices will rise strongly, driving water intensive manufacturing industries to relocate (possibly to the Great Lakes area, but definitely not to Atlanta).
Lawn watering,fishing, and golfing will curtailed.
Out-migration will exceed in-migration to the region.
The wealthy and those with family in the Mid-West may move to the Great Lakes area (but not to Georgia or Florida,where water resources are already stressed).
If there is a reason to be paranoid, excessive drought-induced migration from dislocated Westerners would be it.
Better start buying those leftover FEMA trailers and maybe some tents.
Via::Las Vegas Review-Journal, VARIED OPTIONS: "Big ideas, slim hope for water, Report lists 12 alternatives to Colorado River water" Image credit::IBID