Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Arizonans Worrying About Water Supplies In The Future

Because continuing population growth here in the Southwest will eventually lead to serious water supply shortfalls, sooner than later if the drought continues for many more years, many Arizonans are worried about water supplies for our arid state.

Here at the University of Arizona there is a growing effort to raise funds required to build and operate a large, desalination plant along the Gulf of California. The plant (similar to one shown above) would eventually pay for itself, as the State of Arizona would likely need to purchase excess water from the University. Since Governor Ducey has decimated funding for higher education, the state funds from such water purchases would help our University offset his administration's extremely myopic budget strategies.

Meanwhile, up in Phoenix, Governor Ducey's administration is considering several long-term water actions and strategies that could allow Arizona's development and population growth to continue unabated into the future.

The first proposal concerns Glen Canyon Dam (above). The State of Arizona would seize control of what is now a Federal facility and then manage Lake Powell primarily to benefit Arizona. This would require a major canal and pumping project to get the water up to the highest points of the the Mogollon Rim, i.e., a state equivalent to the famous Colorado and Arizona Project. This strategy carries fiscal dangers, especially if the drought continues, or if Utah and Colorado would escalate the water wars by building new dams upstream and cutting off much of the inflow to Lake Powell.

Currently considered as a last ditch option is a proposal to build a huge dam across Copper Canyon in Mexico (above). The extremely heavy rains that fall on the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains during summer are considered more reliable in the long-term than are the rains during the year over Arizona. This massive geo-engineering project would require an international cooperation between Arizona and Sonora or Mexico City, which could be a problem given past history. However, damn-the-torpedoes legislators in Ducey's administration propose that, if need be, Arizona could invade Sonora and take control of the mountainous eastern part of the Mexican state. Once this project were completed, Copper Canyon would look similar to image shown below. This project would also require getting the water to the highest elevations along the Borderlands. 

Optimistic legislators point out that once the water is at high elevations along the Rim or the Border, it's all downhill from there! Predicting how all this will play out for future generations of Southwesterners is certainly a greater challenge than forecasting our weather here.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Whiskey is for drinkin water is for fightin