Hopefully we are all aware of the crippling drought on the West Coast, and indeed most of the United States. As of April 2015, California had about one year left of water in its reservoirs. While there have been mandatory restrictions placed on water usage and farmers are required to provide a conservation management plan, these actions can be seen as only a band aid while we collectively look for a longer term solution. Building desalination plants has proven to be a mixed bag and comes with their own set of environmental problems – read Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times: Desalination Plants Aren’t A Good Solution For California Drought.
Take What’s Given To Us And Make Better Use Of It
For those of us who live in New England, Great Lakes States and more recently Texas, we’ve also been living through our own climate change effects, most notably endless blizzards and floods.
We Don’t Need Oil, But We Do Need Water
So here’s a question, if we don’t need oil, but we do need water, with about 2.5 million miles of pipeline criss-crossing the country why not encourage and incentivize the conversion of our oil pipelines to carry water? If we had a national water distribution system, we could move and store water for when and where its most needed. Lets give tax breaks and incentives to the pipeline owners, oil and gas companies to convert the existing infrastructure from oil to water. Over simplification, absolutely, but if we want to think long term how we’re going to solve our biggest problems and solve for our basic needs then we need to think big and bold. This also becomes a matter of adaptive re-use of future fossil fuel stranded assets, thinking creatively will help mitigate costs and the economic loss of infrastructure.
Good Read: UNESCO World Water Development Report.