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jdla22

Why Can't We With Water?

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So I'm sitting here as rain is pouring down, collecting in puddles, raising the water table, and filling aquifers to the point of almost flooding and I'm just thinking about all the areas in the U.S. that are facing drought. My first thought is, do I really have this excess of water here that I think we do? Is the ground supersaturated with water or has it just not filtered through yet? My second thought is, if there really is all this excess water and flooding, why can't we send it to the drought stricken areas? We have oil and gas pipelines that crisscross our nation, why can't we do the same with water and fill up Californian reservoirs? Just some thoughts. I would love to hear expert and more well thought out opinions on the matter.

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There is no simple answer, money is what?

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The graph here shows that the US residential cost of water is around 70 cents a gallon in major cities. Less than $40 a barrel. 

https://www.circleofblue.org/waterpricing/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIoYvu0L-96AIVCoTICh1aJAOzEAAYASAAEgIWgfD_BwE

What's the profit margin on that? How much would a pipeline cost to run and maintain?

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12 minutes ago, swansont said:

The graph here shows that the US residential cost of water is around 70 cents a gallon in major cities. Less than $40 a barrel. 

https://www.circleofblue.org/waterpricing/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIoYvu0L-96AIVCoTICh1aJAOzEAAYASAAEgIWgfD_BwE

What's the profit margin on that? How much would a pipeline cost to run and maintain?

Would Californians and other desert communities be willing to pay more for a gallon of water? Would flood prone communities be willing to pay for a system that takes water away?

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, jdla22 said:

I would love to hear expert and more well thought out opinions on the matter.

I cannot claim to be an expert but there is some quick local numbers. Also note that the local conditions here seldom causes drought.

In Sweden there is a yearly production of 900x10^9 l of drinking water produced*
Fuel delivered for usage by vehicles is approx 12x10^9**
That means that the drinking water volume is 75 times the volume of fuel. And note that this is drinking water only. To that one have to add the vast amounts of water needed for other purposes such as farms. One figure I found* is that the amount is approx 28 times the volume of drinking water.

The above example means that if 1% of the water would require a relocation it would still be approx 20 times the volume of all fuel transported.
So in addition to the problem of making a profit as stated above there is the issue of delivering enough volumes of water to make a practical difference. 

 

 

References. Sorry, some may not be available in english at this time:
*)https://sydvatten.se/vattenforbrukning/
**)https://spbi.se/statistik/volymer/

 

Edited by Ghideon

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2 minutes ago, jdla22 said:

Would Californians and other desert communities be willing to pay more for a gallon of water? Would flood prone communities be willing to pay for a system that takes water away?

That certainly seems like a simple answer... 

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19 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

There is no simple answer, money is what?

It would cost to much money to transport water through pipelines.

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28 minutes ago, jdla22 said:

So I'm sitting here as rain is pouring down, collecting in puddles, raising the water table, and filling aquifers to the point of almost flooding and I'm just thinking about all the areas in the U.S. that are facing drought. My first thought is, do I really have this excess of water here that I think we do? Is the ground supersaturated with water or has it just not filtered through yet? My second thought is, if there really is all this excess water and flooding, why can't we send it to the drought stricken areas? We have oil and gas pipelines that crisscross our nation, why can't we do the same with water and fill up Californian reservoirs? Just some thoughts. I would love to hear expert and more well thought out opinions on the matter.

 

A very good point that also applies to other nations right across the globe.

I wish others would think like you.

My view is there is a lack of politcal will / organisation not a lack of physical resources to achieve this.

2 minutes ago, Bufofrog said:

It would cost to much money to transport water through pipelines.

If you were dying of thirst in the desert which would you value more

A pint of water or a ton of gold?

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5 minutes ago, studiot said:

My view is there is a lack of politcal will / organisation not a lack of physical resources to achieve this.

That is a good point. Redistribution of large amounts of water is not impossible, but hard to do cheap or with limited resources. 
There are large projects to redistribute water across seasons (Hoover Dam for instance) so with appropriate political will, need and organisation it would be possible to do geographically as well.

 

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1 hour ago, jdla22 said:

Would Californians and other desert communities be willing to pay more for a gallon of water?

California borders an ocean. What is the cost of desalination?

1 hour ago, jdla22 said:

Would flood prone communities be willing to pay for a system that takes water away?

Transporting water isn't going to stop flooding.

___

California was mentioned, and their problems are partly their own doing. Agriculture requiring lots of water (e.g. almonds) in an arid region, and huge populations in the cities. Maybe it is political will that's lacking. But from where would California get its water piped in?  

55 minutes ago, Ghideon said:

That is a good point. Redistribution of large amounts of water is not impossible, but hard to do cheap or with limited resources. 
There are large projects to redistribute water across seasons (Hoover Dam for instance) so with appropriate political will, need and organisation it would be possible to do geographically as well.

 

The thing about dams is they're on rivers, which comprise the existing water transport system that we have. The problem is that anyone near the river tends to take water from it (and that gives rise to some long-standing water rights issues)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, studiot said:

If you were dying of thirst in the desert which would you value more

A pint of water or a ton of gold?

I would rather have the water.  Now getting back to the OP question, the reason that we won't build pipelines from the eastern US to the west is the cost.

Edited by Bufofrog

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4 hours ago, jdla22 said:

I would love to hear expert and more well thought out opinions on the matter.

So would I.

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Next thing you know, you Americans will want to drain the Great Lakes to irrigate the American Southwest.
Just so they can have green lawns, and fountains in front of the Las Vegas casinos.

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5 hours ago, swansont said:

The graph here shows that the US residential cost of water is around 70 cents a gallon in major cities. Less than $40 a barrel. 

 

 

What do you guys have? Perrier faucets? Regular treated water for households is nowhere near that cost.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

What do you guys have? Perrier faucets? Regular treated water for households is nowhere near that cost.

+1

But just think of the business opportunity.

Someone is offering to buy your half of the great lakes for more than you value them as.

:)

Edited by studiot

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Gasoline has dropped to $0.65 Canadian per liter.
You go in the convenience store at the Gas Station and a 0.5 l bottle of water costs $2 Canadian.

Something's wrong with that picture.

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This is hardly a new idea that no-one has thought of before. There are archives full of proposals for diverting flood water long distances to more arid but potentially agriculturally productive areas. They almost always fail on grounds of engineering difficulty and the high costs of overcoming them.

Simply, the volumes of water during floods is enormous, far exceeding what any pipes or canals could manage.

Leaving aside the transporting of that water to other regions and just looking at pumping water away as flood control we face the issue of just how much volume of water that will be. Consider a flood - how that volume of water flow compares to the normal watercourses. A smallish river will have much more flow than a large pipe or canal can carry and the volume during a flood far exceeds that capacity. Dams up stream are often used (and preferred) for flood mitigation - they catch a large part of the water before it reaches vulnerable cities and towns and bleed it away more slowly after the rains stop. These also work well for other water uses - at higher elevations it can be delivered for irrigation or town water supply to places downstream. As soon as you try to deliver it to higher elevations - or over them if intended for more distant regions - the costs and engineering difficulties rise.

From US Geological Survey, (USGS)an example of how much more water flows due to rain events, in this case a modest 2 inches (52mm) in one day. Flow rate increased over to 150 times of base flow rate -

Quote

 

On Dec. 24, 2002, about two inches of rainfall fell in the Peachtree Creek watershed. This provides a good example to describe streamflow characteristics during a storm since the rain fell for only a few hours on that day and Peachtree Creek was at base-flow conditions before the rain started.

The chart below shows rainfall, in inches, during each 15-minute increment on Dec. 24th and the continuous measure of streamflow, in cubic feet per second (ft3/s).

Bar/line chart showing streamflow and rainfall for Dec 24, 2002 at Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Georgia.

On Dec. 24, 2002, about two inches of rainfall fell in the Peachtree Creek watershed. This provides a good example to describe streamflow characteristics during a storm since the rain fell for only a few hours on that day and Peachtree Creek was at base-flow conditions before the rain started.

 

Serious floods make that look small change.

There are environmental consequences to flood mitigation and diverting water for agriculture - flood plains with ecosystems that rely on those floods are often much changed by human uses, uses that are disrupted by flooding. Human uses almost always take priority. But even all those mitigation efforts are routinely overwhelmed during serious rain events.

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12 minutes ago, Ken Fabian said:

Simply, the volumes of water during floods is enormous, far exceeding what any pipes or canals could manage.

 

There are environmental consequences to flood mitigation and diverting water for agriculture - flood plains with ecosystems that rely on those floods are often much changed by human uses, uses that are disrupted by flooding. Human uses almost always take priority. But even all those mitigation efforts are routinely overwhelmed during serious rain events.

 

Yes indeed, but there is another viewpoint about this, other than defeatism.

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19 minutes ago, studiot said:

Yes indeed, but there is another viewpoint about this, other than defeatism.

 

These kinds of schemes have been proposed again and again - some in great detail; they are not failing for lack of imagination. But I would not call assessing such plans on their merits and finding them wanting defeatism; that very ability to use foresight and understand what will and won't work before committing valuable resources is important progress. And besides the many schemes that are found wanting there will be projects that do pass, potentially more as engineering capability advances. Flood mitigation dams do work in many events that would cause flooding even if they can still be overwhelmed.

The most effective solution - and most ignored - is to use foresight and stop building vulnerable infrastructure in flood prone areas. I would call that realism from applying intelligence and foresight to planning, rather than call it defeatism.

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10 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

 

These kinds of schemes have been proposed again and again - some in great detail; they are not failing for lack of imagination. But I would not call assessing such plans on their merits and finding them wanting defeatism; that very ability to use foresight and understand what will and won't work before committing valuable resources is important progress. And besides the many schemes that are found wanting there will be projects that do pass, potentially more as engineering capability advances. Flood mitigation dams do work in many events that would cause flooding even if they can still be overwhelmed.

The most effective solution - and most ignored - is to use foresight and stop building vulnerable infrastructure in flood prone areas. I would call that realism from applying intelligence and foresight to planning, rather than call it defeatism.

Yes, it's the same mentality that  builds on eroding coastlines.

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10 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

 

These kinds of schemes have been proposed again and again - some in great detail; they are not failing for lack of imagination. But I would not call assessing such plans on their merits and finding them wanting defeatism; that very ability to use foresight and understand what will and won't work before committing valuable resources is important progress. And besides the many schemes that are found wanting there will be projects that do pass, potentially more as engineering capability advances. Flood mitigation dams do work in many events that would cause flooding even if they can still be overwhelmed.

The most effective solution - and most ignored - is to use foresight and stop building vulnerable infrastructure in flood prone areas. I would call that realism from applying intelligence and foresight to planning, rather than call it defeatism.

 

First and foremost, you are answering the wrong question.

The proposal in this thread was not to about flood alleviation per se, but transporting some of the (flood) water from areas where there is excess to areas where there is deficit.

There is no requirement for total flood alleviation.

 

Having said that, the two can be linked or combined.

Yes there have been proposals, some of which were implemented for extended perdiods of time even several thousand (up to 5,000) years ago.
The Harappan ciivilisation was a good example which controlled the waters of one of the great rivers of the world on its flood plain.

More recently, the Romans are famous for their aqueducts, some of which are still in use.

As I said, there is another point of view and dams are not the only engineering solution (although the Nile flooding has been reduced by such dams in additions to the extension of irrigable land).

More recently the Chinese are working on projects to control the waters of another great river.

 

 

 

34 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Yes, it's the same mentality that  builds on eroding coastlines.

 

Do you therefore think the Dutch should all move to another country ?

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1 hour ago, studiot said:

 

First and foremost, you are answering the wrong question.

The proposal in this thread was not to about flood alleviation per se, but transporting some of the (flood) water from areas where there is excess to areas where there is deficit.

There is no requirement for total flood alleviation.

 

Having said that, the two can be linked or combined.

Yes there have been proposals, some of which were implemented for extended perdiods of time even several thousand (up to 5,000) years ago.
The Harappan ciivilisation was a good example which controlled the waters of one of the great rivers of the world on its flood plain.

More recently, the Romans are famous for their aqueducts, some of which are still in use.

As I said, there is another point of view and dams are not the only engineering solution (although the Nile flooding has been reduced by such dams in additions to the extension of irrigable land).

More recently the Chinese are working on projects to control the waters of another great river.

 

 

 

 

Do you therefore think the Dutch should all move to another country ?

No, they knew what they were getting into and don't ignore the problem.

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