Homepage Forums Environmental Forums Ogallala aquifer

Viewing 7 posts - 16 through 22 (of 22 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3555
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    willit wrote: just a thought…….
    I live near the Colombia river and have fished it a lot. it seems that we have a large fresh water source near by and that it could be rerouted ( in part) to go backwards and replenish our existing water usage from the vast underground reservoir that nature has given us. eliminating several dams and restoring the natural habitat for fish and wildlife. we would not have to desalinate anything but merely provide a source of energy to pump water back into the source that we have tapped and are depleting. maybe even just lay pipe in the riverbed that water already flows down. it just takes energy.
    we have tapped and used the water at a rate and could construct a mechanism where by we reverse the operation at the same rate. for the same amount of years there would be no net change. just paying back what we have used.

    The word “vast” is misleading. No pool can replace the catchment area for the Columbia river, even partially or temporarily. Get some numbers, and you will be surprised at how fast that “vast” pool would be drained. As for reversing the flow of the river, there are so many problems with that idea I don’t know where to start. But the big two are: the “used” water isn’t available for re-use in most cases. It has gone off in a thousand directions, including evaporation and industrial processes; and second, the amount of energy required would be in the terawatt-years range. Even with FF, that would require millions of generators, plus all the “plumbing” infrastructure. Much easier to use a mix of purification and desalination directly for the cities. Trying to make the rivers flow uphill is a fool’s errand.

    #3556
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    Another place that dams are core to larger problems is in the ME. Iraq’s two Biblical rivers, the Tigris and Eurphrates, are the foundation of Iraq’s agriculture and civilization. And the Marshes that Saddam drained to kill rebellious Shia that are really a huge delta for the rivers as they enter the sea. Currently, Turkey is building dams on the river(s) which will at the least cut the maximum recovered size of the Marshes by half, with additional wide upstream consequences for agriculture, drinking water, and irrigation projects. Delicate but very tough negotiations are under way. Similar situations exist for Syria, Jordan, Israel, etc. The Dead Sea is shrinking fast. Desalination and other (e.g., atmospheric water condensation) projects could resolve most of those issues without the traditional wars that have been fought over water, and to the great benefit of the other species, e.g., that are vigorously attempting to re-colonize the Marshes.

    #3559
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    Here’s the Economist’s take on the problem. As usual, it contains the obligatory sententious nod in the direction of GW, but has some good info nevertheless. E.g.:

    To make water use more efficient, says Koichiro Matsuura, the head of UNESCO, the main UN agency dealing with water, will require fundamental changes of behaviour. That means changing incentives, improving information flows, and improving the way water use is governed. All that will be hard.

    Water is rarely priced in ways that reflect supply and demand. Usually, water pricing simply means that city dwellers pay for the cost of the pipes that transport it and the sewerage plants that clean it.

    Basic information about who uses how much water is lacking. Rainwater and river flows can be measured with some accuracy. But the amount pumped out of lakes is a matter of guesswork and information on how much is taken from underground aquifers is almost completely lacking.

    Water isn’t as free as the air any more! (Can air itself be far behind? 😉 ) Actually, it never was. Everything that takes work to obtain has a cost, in fact. But that’s another topic.

    #3898
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    The Ogalla acquifier had no problems to speak of until after WW2, when electric pumps made irrigation take off. As a former sailor, I’ll guarantee you don’t want to drink where ships and barges have been. (No holding tanks). Here in West Michigan, we already have enough problems with Lake Michigan going down. Also, I agree with Brian about the Law(s) of Unintended Consequences.

    Seems to me that the best way overall to replenish the Ogalla is to pipe in desalinized water so the farmers don’t have to change their crop rotations or learn not to plow just before winter. That change alone is worth ~1″ of rainfall a year in retained moisture and snow retention.

    #3899
    Avatarwillit
    Participant

    desalinated water could be harvested with minimal treatment by drawing off of rivers and replenishing by piping to areas of greatest use. at least for the interim slowing the consumption from ogalala. we just need the horsepower to pump water to these areas. if focus fusion takes off this could be a very inexpensive approach.

    #3900
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    willit wrote: desalinated water could be harvested with minimal treatment by drawing off of rivers and replenishing by piping to areas of greatest use. at least for the interim slowing the consumption from ogalala. we just need the horsepower to pump water to these areas. if focus fusion takes off this could be a very inexpensive approach.

    Yep, that’s probably the easiest political solution. Wonder how long after that before a longer term “solution” like pumping Gulf and ocean water are implemented?

    T. Boone Pickens wanted to build a 600 some odd mile long pipeline from his ranch in the Texas Panhandle to pump Ogalla water to the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. I imagine a better way to make money off of water would be for him to double the length and slightly increase the diameter so it reaches the Gulf north of Houston, and bill his neighbors to put the rest into the aquifier. On that scale, he’d probably just bill Austin periodically for being such a “Good Texan”.

    #3902
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    Aeronaut wrote:

    desalinated water could be harvested with minimal treatment by drawing off of rivers and replenishing by piping to areas of greatest use. at least for the interim slowing the consumption from ogalala. we just need the horsepower to pump water to these areas. if focus fusion takes off this could be a very inexpensive approach.

    Yep, that’s probably the easiest political solution. Wonder how long after that before a longer term “solution” like pumping Gulf and ocean water are implemented?

    T. Boone Pickens wanted to build a 600 some odd mile long pipeline from his ranch in the Texas Panhandle to pump Ogalla water to the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. I imagine a better way to make money off of water would be for him to double the length and slightly increase the diameter so it reaches the Gulf north of Houston, and bill his neighbors to put the rest into the aquifier. On that scale, he’d probably just bill Austin periodically for being such a “Good Texan”.

    ?? River water doesn’t need to be desalinated. Over-use of rivers and aquifers is what desalination of ocean water is supposed to remedy.
    Aeronaut’s idea of replenishing the aquifer is probably a good idea, since many of the taps into it are unlikely to be withdrawn in a hurry. Once desalination and pumping are cheap, it will happen, though.

Viewing 7 posts - 16 through 22 (of 22 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.