... seeking simple answers to complex problems, and in the process, disrupting the status quo in technology, art and neuroscience.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Rocky Mountain Plan - Water Enough for All

OK.  I admit it.  I have a weakness for grand solutions to grand problems.  I first heard about this back in the 80s and out of curiosity thought I'd Google to see how progress was coming along.

Considering the state of environmental politics not to mention international boundaries, I'm sad but not surprised to report, not much has happened since I first read about it.  Here's the only reference I could find...

The Rocky Mountain Plan

So what IS the Rocky Mountain Plan?  It's nothing less than diverting water all the way from the Arctic Circle, and spreading it across the mid-western United States and even into California, Texas and Mexico.  Here's a summary.  I'm posting it here because grand ideas shouldn't die just because they are grand (note the 2200 foot drop for energy production).

"The Rocky Mountain Plan, conceived by William G. Dunn, Consulting Engineer, is a potential massive, international water and power development project that would distribute water and power throughout the West from Canada to the Mexican border.

Principal sources of water are the Peace, Athabasca, and Smoky rivers in northern Alberta (Canada), and upper tributaries of the Mackenzie River in northern British Columbia, which flows into the Arctic Ocean. Additional sources of water are the Kootenai and Flathead rivers and Clark Fork in western Montana, which are upper tributaries of the Columbia River. Water would be diverted for use within the Yellowstone, Missouri, and the Snake rivers in the northwestern United States, and upper tributaries of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers in Alberta.

The water distribution system would include several large reservoirs with a total storage capacity of nearly 100 million acre-feet. Project yield would range from 12 to 25 million acrefeet per year, depending on aqueduct and reservoir sizing. This water would be distributed through more than 5,850 miles of aqueduct for use in southern Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, all of the western states on both sides of the Rocky Mountains including west Texas and California, and northern New Mexico in the Colorado River and Rio Grande valleys.

New energy developed under the Rocky Mountain Plan would come from a huge hydroelectric project called the Whitehorse-Skagway Division, collecting water from the upper tributaries of the Yukon River and releasing it through a 2,200-foot power drop into an interior inlet of the Pacific Ocean near Skagway, Alaska. The 33 billion kilowatt hours of power produced by this system would be conveyed in a 2,000-mile transmission line to Alberta, British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest for general use in the power market, and for project purposes. Three large storage reservoirs with a total storage potential of 60 million acre-feet are proposed within the Columbia River Basin. These reservoirs would include large pumped storage facilities that would reregulate the power developed in the Columbia River plants and in the project power plants, and that also would produce some new power.

The entire Rocky Mountain Plan, including power facilities, was estimated to cost between $40 and $50 billion in 1977 dollars. One of the significant advantages of the Rocky Mountain Plan is that it could be staged to provide significant water and power benefits during early development."

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Keep Your Laws Off My Body by John Stossel

I've always been impressed with John Stossel.  When he was on ABC, you could see working around the edges of issues now and then.  Looks like Fox is giving him the opportunity to open up both barrels!

Sex, drugs or kidneys, he's get my vote!

Keep Your Laws Off My Body