The Friday Report – Fixing Ma Nature’s mistakes
April 8, 2010
Scientists tell us that there’s the same amount of water around as there was way back when the first dinosaur lumbered through Highland’s Ranch. Scientists also tell us that the good news is that the earth has lots of fresh water. The bad news is that the water is not where we want it. We insist on living in dry, sunny spots where there’s not too much of that pesky rain – California, for example.
California is the tenth largest economy in the world, much of it based, in some way or another, upon the use of water. But, unfortunately, 80 percent of California’s water consumption is in the southern part of the state while 70 percent of the available fresh water is in the north.
California has constructed more than 2,000 miles of canals to correct this oversight of Mother Nature and is in final planning of the 10 billion dollar ditch known as the Peripheral Canal, the final pipe needed to suck all the moisture out of the north to hydrate the development in the south. Who knew Mother Nature needed so much help!
Monday’s Mexico-centered earthquake might have been a wake-up call and reminder to southern California’s 24 million residents that a mild, but well-placed earthquake along the San Andreas Fault could leave two-thirds of them without water or sewage. Think Haiti times ten.
We choose to live in arid places, yet we insist on lush lawns and water-intensive horticulture. More than 70 percent of the water consumed in Southern California goes to lawns and other outside, non-essential uses.
The innocuously named Colorado River (Moffat) Firming Project (who wouldn’t want a firm Colorado River?) is another example of Man Fixing Mother Nature’s Mess. If she’s so smart, why didn’t she put the headwaters on the Front Range, then Denver could run the Colorado River directly through their toilets instead of having to poke straws through the mountains to sip us to death slowly.
But wait – hope may come from the other direction as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finishes up a study of a $3 billion proposal to tap a quarter million acre-feet annually from Wyoming’s Green River, just above the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, pipe it across the southern desert of Wyoming and on south to Colorado’s Front Range. “It’s a plan to channel endless water to the metropolitan areas of Colorado,” says Aaron Million, pipeline promoter.
“No, it’s not,” say proponents of the Colorado-Wyoming Cooperative Water Supply Project. “It’s a plan to channel a quarter billion dollars a year into Aaron Million’s pockets.”
The CWCWSP is a group of municipal water suppliers from the south Denver Metro area and Wyoming with a similar but alternate plan. They announced last Thursday at the Capitol that they’re banding together to study a project that competes with Aaron Million’s 500 mile pipe dream and calls for new reservoirs to be built in Larimer County, somewhere east of the foothills.
Participants in the plan include Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Parker, Douglas County, Laramie County, Wyoming, and the Wyoming cities of Cheyenne, Torrington and Rawlins. Each party will share in the funding study and while the two concepts seem similar, Million’s project is a private venture with lots of enthusiasm but little support whereas the Colorado-Wyoming plan has the cooperation of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and would only serve municipal water utilities in the two states.
Oh, if Mother Nature had only gotten it right, Denver could be three times the size it is now. Wouldn’t that just be splendid!