By Will Verboven, Contributing Editor
WATER SCARCITY IN THE U.S. Southwest has become a critical issue, and ways to resolve it are becoming more impossible. In the June/July CALF News, Burt Rutherford did a hard-hitting perspective on the issue. Canadians like to pretend that U.S. drought issues just aren’t their problem; unfortunately, the issue is very critical to Canada.
During much of the year, most of the fruits and vegetables (produce) in Canadian stores are grown and contain water from those U.S. drought areas. Considering the dependence millions of Canadians have on the U.S. Southwest, you would think the Canadian government brain trust would be pursuing ways that might help alleviate the water shortage, if for no other reason than to assure that the U.S. food supply line to Canada continues. There is a commonsense concept to lessen the water shortage, but governments seem to be avoiding the idea.
The idea would be to supply water from Canada to the U.S. Southwest, notably California, in exchange for selling fresh produce to Canada. Canadians conveniently forget that the United States is under no obligation to supply food to Canada. If Canada provided water to the United States, shortages would rarely happen, and Canadians would be assured of a consistent produce supply. So what water from Canada am I referring to? It involves moving water from the West Coast province of British Columbia (B.C.) to California by supertanker or pipeline. The supertanker idea is entirely feasible and involves moving water directly from B.C. rivers to water terminals in California. That would be fresh water that normally just flows into the salty ocean and is lost. Heck, climate fearmongers should support the idea – the more water intercepted from flowing into the ocean will help reduce the threat of rising ocean levels. Every little bit helps, as green zealots preach. Since 1960, studies have shown that moving water from Canada in various ways is doable; some routes can be built quicker than others. But alas, there are significant hurdles to any progress on this visionary water movement idea – all have to do with human nature.
The U.S. hurdles to the concept are based more on procrastination. The belief is, with some historical support, that California droughts are cyclical
and that rain will return in abundance to again fill irrigation reservoirs to overflowing. Added into that is more efficient irrigation technology and possibly reducing the acreage of thirsty crops like almonds, cotton, rice and others. The other procrastination perspective is that desalination technology will advance to a point where it will become feasible for irrigation. Be that as it may, it would take many more billions to build desalination plants than to move water from Canada’s West Coast to the United Staes.
Regretfully, the Canadian hurdles have nothing to do with any feasibility concerns. They are entirely emotional and shamefully ideological. First, there is the absurd observation that Canada needs to hoard all its water for its own use. A noble thought, but it would take a tenfold increase in the Canadian population even to use the outflow of the two major B.C. rivers. However, the most infuriating hurdle is that, since 1960, mostly leftish Liberal federal governments, smug Canadian academia and obstructionist federal bureaucracy have derailed or blocked any proposal simply because of underlying anti-Americanism (but only against Republicans). Selling the United States water in exchange for a guaranteed
food supply seems like a no-brainer – but never underestimate the power of ideology or bigotry to cause folks to lose common sense.
If abundant rain returns to California and reservoirs are full, the drought will again be forgotten for a few years. It’s been suggested water could be piped from the Columbia River to California or the upper Colorado River – it’s a shorter distance, and there would be no dealing with an obstructionist Canadian government. I know the Columbia has multiple dams and is used for irrigation and navigation, but still, gazillions
of gallons of freshwater sure seem to continue flowing into the Pacific. Proposals have also been made to move water from the Great Lakes to the Colorado River via pipeline. Technically its feasible, but the route would involve multiple state/provincial jurisdictions, battalions of regulators, busybody bureaucrats, and a veritable army of green lobby groups launching thousands of lawsuits. Despite the commonsense of the concept, it would take an act of God to overcome such a wall of obstruction. I suppose moving water from British Columbia to California just seems much more feasible.
Unfortunately, it will take a starvation- induced American water crisis to jolt Canada into motion. This may seem draconian, but I suspect it will take a U.S. boycott of food shipments to Canada to knock some sense into the green-obsessed, progressive establishment that now controls the Canadian government, academia and bureaucracy.