Why Can't Flood Water Get Hauled to Drought-Stricken Land?

There’s too much water in one part of the U.S. and not enough in another, so why not move it? This concept is on the minds of quite a few Texans (including me). While the East Coast battles flood waters from Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene, the central part of the U.S. has been isolated from rain salvation.

A few sprinkles of rain have been scattered throughout the central U.S., but not enough to counter drought effects. One part of nation suffering the most from severe drought is Texas. Over the last l0 months much of Central and East Texas alone experienced precipitation deficits exceeding 20 inches. With 95 percent of the state in extreme drought and 81 percent of the state exceptional drought status, the conditions are expected to worsen without water. Before the Lone Star state is cleared from extreme drought status, it needs over 15 inches of rainfall.

The lack of rain has caused the state to burst into flames, literally – with temperatures topping the triple digits most of the summer, the threat of wildfires now plagues most of East Texas. Burn bans have been issued for 250 of the 254 Texas counties due to spread of wildfires, according to the Texas Forest Service. As of Sept. 5, wildfires consumed roughly 3.6 million acres in Texas destroying nearly 1,200 homes.

While severe dry conditions spread throughout the Central U.S., persistent rain across the Northeast has cities drowned under water. First Hurricane Irene, then Tropical Storm Lee, it seems the East Coast can’t catch a break. Parts of Pennsylvania are experiencing the worst flooding in nearly 40 years. With more than a foot of rain dumped into rivers from Louisiana to New York, rivers and lakes are overflowing leaving cities in ruins. Thanks to the constant downpour, President Obama declared 42 counties in Pennsylvania and 15 in New York disaster areas.

Why not attempt to answer each region’s problem by hauling water from one place to another?

Apparently, this isn’t a foreign thought for water industry professionals.According to Associated Press, French engineers have simulated transporting an iceberg to Africa and there are even mega-trash bags, known as Spragg Bags, with the capability to move heavy loads of water. But the major issue is cost, Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Studies Institute told the Associated Press.

Critics say that that moving water from one area to another, thousands of miles away, is just “unrealistic.” With enough money anything can be done – maybe not move the flood water to drought-stricken regions, but perhaps find closer water sources and explore the idea of wastewater reclamation. Big Spring, Texas is taking advantage of its option to convert wastewater into drinking water and maybe more parts of the country should to help alleviate the drought issue and drain some of the flood water into usable fluid. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always evenly distribute environmental effects, so attempting to create man made solutions is all we can do – and perhaps a bit of expensive, “unrealistic” creativity will save homes and lives.

Posted by Christina Miralla on Sep 21, 2011