December 28, 2014
I visited my sister in Oregon for the holidays and needless to say, it’s been a wet Christmas. We considered ourselves lucky since it only rained about half the days we visited and not all of them, like the weather app predicted. Whenever I visit the northwest I’m always struck by the abundance of water the region has. Everything is green and mushy–always. It doesn’t seem fair that I can hop a plane and fly two hours north where people have more water than they know what to do with. Why can’t they share?
California has been graced with a good start to our rainy season this winter, but we’re nowhere near to being on the other side of this drought. A refrain you’ve probably hear more than once said of Californians to friends and family elsewhere in the country: “Send some our way.” Meteorological difficulties aside, what if they could?
I first used to think about this problem by somehow collecting ground water and siphoning it off to reservoirs. I thought about installing a grid of small drains all over the countryside that would collect rainwater before it could become run off or seep down into the water table. Not only would this be completely impracticable to build, it would probably beget other ecological complications, disrupting further the amount of water habitats are used to getting.
Then it hit me the other day while I was taking a long, hot, guilt-free shower at my sister’s place; how easy it could be to ship water south to California. Don’t send us your rain… send us your used water! San Diego just implemented a closed loop system, if they can drink their own poop water, we can certain use Oregon’s to grow everybody’s food!
Used water, which is already conveniently collected through the current infrastructure could then be piped down to California’s reservoirs. We could either build a massive treatment center on the Califoregon border a la Omniprocesser, the Bill/Melinda Gates backed water processing plant, or simply take over all of the treatment plants in Oregon.
Oregon towns would save money because they would no longer have to pay to process their water, California would. No body would loose their job, since we would still need people to run the treatment plants. If anything we would be creating them! We would need to build new water treatment plants and a giant poop pipeline, plus the folks needed to maintain that infrastructure. And you can’t tell me Oregonians don’t need jobs–they don’t even let me pump my own gas for crying out loud….
Governor Brown is already set on spending billions of dollars on a water pipeline that hurts our overly taxed San Joaquin delta ecosystem and does not add a new source of water, it just pulls it from further upstream; a terrible idea all around. Why not instead build a pipeline that I’m willing to bet would be much less expensive than the 6.5 bajillion dollars proposed for Brown’s idiotic delta pipeline. It will actually generate a new source of water. It won’t deplete water from either state’s ecosystem. It will create jobs in both states. I don’t know how much more win/win/win you can get without throwing kittens into the deal!
Maybe Oregon will finally warm up to it’s warmer neighbor to the south if we offer to buy their dirty water. Now if only we could somehow send them sun….
4/20/15 Update: William Shatner proposes a Kickstarter campaign to build a pipeline from the north to CA to transport water. I can only assume he read this post and was struck by ingenuity of it. No need to thank me Mr. Shatner, (but I won’t turn down a job….) While 30 billion might actually be too crazy to work, I wonder how far we could get with 30 million? The internet says CA has almost 39 million residents, that’s less than a dollar per person; even I can afford that.
Now all we have to do is get Bill Gates on board and we’ll be set!