The ballad of Ira Hayes and the Transcontinental aqueduct.

165 years ago Mark Twain coined the phrase: Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over. So it was for the Pima Indians in the Phoenix valley in Arizona.

They had built a very intricate but functioning set of canals, unequaled in the Southwest America. Around the Salt River and the Gila river.

Then the white men came and took the water rights. Let Johnny Cash tell about one of the Pima Indians in the form of a ballad:

It was soo good. Listen to it again without the distraction of all the text and let it sink in.

Yes, the land is just as dry, even drier as Maricopa County was the fastest growing county in U.S. in the last decade. Even the aquifers are starting to run dry. And Lake Mead can no longer supply enough water for the Central Arizona Project aqueduct. More than anything the Indians need to have their water rights restored, so they can again be a functional society. These are the reparations they need.

To this end may I propose: The TransContinental Aqueduct. A realistic way to save Lake Mead and reverse the desertification of the American SouthWest.

And now it begins. Southern California denies thousands of farmers their water rights or access to water.

The western half of United States is experiencing a multi-year drought with no end in sight. Has the desertification of the American southwest started? Will farmers have to abandon their farms and orchards for lack of water? Will this and the shortage of fertilizer be the trigger point for a worldwide hunger, since now Ukraine is no longer the food basket of Europe?

These are worrying questions? The situation in the American South is dire:

The only saving grace is that thanks to increasing CO2, the vegetation needs less water to do the photosynthesis, so the harvests will not decrease as much even though fertilizer will be rationed.

Southern California was first to cut off water to thousands pf farmers:

The next step is to forbid watering of lawns and plants and fine people for violating HOA regulations that state that that lawns must be well fertilized and watered and free from weeds. The native weeds (I call them wildflowers) are the only thing that will survive the drought.

But back to the drought situation.

The solution:

Build a transcontinental aqueduct from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River capable of transporting 12 million acre-ft of water yearly through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. It will be built similar to the Central Arizona Project aqueduct, supplying water from the Colorado river to the Phoenix and Tucson area, but this aqueduct will be carrying four times more water over four times the distance and raise the water nearly twice as high before returning to near sea level. The original Central Arizona Project cost $4.7 billion in 1980’s money, the Transcontinental Aqueduct will in Phase 1 cost around $200 Billion in 2022 money applying simple scaling up principles.

The Mississippi River has a bad reputation for having polluted water, but since the clean water act the water quality has improved drastically. Fecal coli-form bacteria is down by a factor of more than 100, the water is now used all the way down to New Orleans for drinking water after treatment. The lead levels are down by a factor of 1000 or more since 1979. Plastic pollution and pharmaceutical pollution is still a problem, as is the case with most rivers. The Ph is back to around 8 and salt content is negligible. Mississippi water is good for irrigation, and usable for drinking water after treatment. The Arkansas River is used as a drinking water source.

But the aqueduct will do more than provide sweet Mississippi water to the thirsty South-west, it will make possible to provide peak power to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In fact, it is so big it will nearly triple the pumped Hydro-power storage for the nation, from 23 GW for 5 hours a day to up to 66 GW when fully built out.

The extra pumped hydro-power storage will come from a number of dams built as part of the aqueduct or adjacent to it. The water will be pumped from surplus wind and solar power generators when available. This will provide up to 50 GW of power for 5 hours a day. If not enough extra power has been generated during the 19 pumping hours, sometimes power will be purchased from the regular grid. The other source of pumped hydro-power storage is virtual. There will be up to 23 GW of LFTR (Liquid Fluoride salt Thorium Rector) power stations strategically stationed along the waterway providing pumping of water for 19 hours and providing virtual hydro-power output for the remaining 5, when the aqueduct is fully built. Read more about it here.

Lake Mead and Lake Powell are emptying fast. The solution: The Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct. Expensive, but very doable.

(Quoted partly from Joanna Allhands, Arizona Republic.) The seven Colorado River basin states have a plan to temporarily stabilize Lake Powell. The states are: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and California.

It is a temporary delay of a very painful decision, it doesn’t rain enough in the Colorado River basin to provide enough water for the ever increasing population, now exceeding 40 million, five times more as when the Hoover dam was built.

Yet no one balked. And that’s a win.

That should signal how dire the circumstances have become.

The U.S. Department of the Interior noted in an April 8 letter to the basin states that Lake Powell is dangerously close to hitting 3,490 feet of elevation, a level so low that power could no longer be generated at Glen Canyon Dam and water could no longer flow to the nearby city of Page and an adjacent Navajo Nation community.

Because water could no longer flow through the power turbines, millions of acre-feet of water would flow downstream through smaller backup pipes at the base of Glen Canyon Dam – a risky prospect that could spell calamity for Lake Mead, which relies on Powell’s releases, if any one of those four pipes were damaged by the heavy flows and had to shut down.

nterior proposed taking the unprecedented action of withholding 480,000 acre-feet (that’s more than 156 billion gallons) in Lake Powell that otherwise should have flowed to Lake Mead, among other measures.

Two weeks later, the seven states responded with a singular voice: We get how dire this is, and we’re on board.

“We recognize the urgency created by current conditions in the Basin; in fact, hydrologic conditions in the Basin have continued to decline since your April 8, 2022, letter to the Governors’ representatives,” they wrote in an April 22 response. “It is our collective judgment that additional cooperative actions should be taken this spring to reduce the risk of Lake Powell declining below critical elevations.”

That means the upper basin states will agree to release 500,000 acre-feet from the upstream Flaming Gorge Reservoir, as part of a newly cemented 2022 Drought Response Operations Plan. (That’s a lot more than the 161,000 acre-feet that was released from upstream reservoirs last year to prop up Lake Powell.)

Meanwhile, the lower basin states, including Arizona, will agree to keep 480,000 acre-feet in Powell, though the states have asked for that amount not to count against shortage determinations.

What does that mean for shortages at Lake Mead?

The idea, however ill-conceived, is not to use Mead’s actual elevation to determine which shortage tier we’d be in, but rather as if that 480,000 acre-feet were in Mead and not Powell.

It’s not clear how the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the reservoirs, would make that calculation, but the outcome could have real consequences.

The most recent forecast projects elevations as if that 480,000 acre-feet had flowed from Powell to Mead. It puts Mead a few inches above the trigger elevation of 1,045 feet in August, when the following year’s shortage determination is made.

That would put us in a deeper Tier 2 shortage, regardless.

But depending on which side of 1,045 feet we land, we could either fall in a Tier 2a or Tier 2b shortage – which for Arizona is the difference between making previously agreed cuts of 592,000 acre-feet or 640,000 acre-feet.

A Tier 2b shortage also would trigger more stringent water conservation actions in Scottsdale and Tucson. That could mean the imposition of drought surcharges in both cities and, in Scottsdale, the potential for mandatory restrictions.

I know. If we base shortage decisions off where the lake should be, but not really is, we’re making conditions look better than they are. Which doesn’t help us in the long run, even if we could temporarily avoid the pain of Tier 2b.

We extinguished a fire to focus on other work

But, importantly, the states also have agreed that “water year 2023 releases should be carefully monitored and be the subject of consultation with the Basin States to preserve the benefits to Glen Canyon Dam … .”

Translation: Whatever actions we take and shortage levels we set for 2023 will get another look, likely in late winter or early spring, when we have a better idea of the year’s runoff picture, to determine whether we need to do more.

It’s a level of flexibility that we haven’t traditionally had – but will likely need – when lake levels are so low and volatile.

None of this solves anything, of course. Even a combined million acre-feet from the states will likely just prolong the inevitable, hopefully long enough to better assess the strength of Powell’s backup pipes.

And to resume the tough work of storing an extra 500,000 acre-feet each year for the next five years in Lake Mead as part of the 500-plus plan. Without that extra water each year, the lake mostly likely will sink below 1,020 feet of elevation – Mead’s version of the dangerously low level that Powell has already reached.

And – most importantly – to finally sit down and talk about longer-term solutions for the Colorado River, most notably how much water we can reliably expect it to produce. It sure as heck isn’t the 15 million acre-feet that we’ve been apportioned.

Imperfect as this response may be, it’s significant that all seven states agreed to it quickly, so we can get back to the many other pressing tasks at hand.

Reach Allhands at joanna.allhands@arizonarepublic.com. On Twitter: @joannaallhands.

There is a solution:

The Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct will save Lake Powell and Lake Mead, and rejuvenate the American South-west. This solution is expensive, but when all costs are included, it can deliver 3.6 to 6 Million acre-feet / year at a cost of $2,290 per af, high, check the calculations here. This is the solution that can be done in the shortest time.

The other solution is The TransContinental Aqueduct. A realistic way to save Lake Mead and reverse the desertification of the American SouthWest. It will really do the job at a lower price per Acre-ft but require much more capital investment. Check out the cost estimates here. This estimate is on the high side. but was a earnest stab at the costs.

Is it worth it to save the American Southwest from being desertified? In my opinion, if we are serious about saving the earth, this is one of the most urgent projects that deserves consideration.

Earth day 2022. It’s all about water in the thirsty American Southwest.

It’s time for the annual earth day

to celebrate Lenin’s old birthday.

Let us plant some more trees

bring the water, yes please.

A Trans-Rocky-Mountain waterway.

The American Southwest is beginning to become desertified. More water is used up than falls in the Colorado River. All water and more is spoken for. The Gila River used to provide about 1.3 Million acre-feet yearly to Arizona. It is now all used up, and the aquifers are being depleted. Since 40 million people are dependent on the Colorado River and the Gila river and the population is rapidly growing the only real solution is to bring in more water to the American South-west. It will be expensive and require a lot of power, but the alternative is a depopulation of the American South-west. Something like it did already happen when the rivers Amu Darya and Sur Darya became used for irrigation and the Aral Lake dried up, the rains ended and the land east of the lake became more or less a desert.

Here are two proposals to save the American Southwest, Lake Mead, Lake Powell Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, West Texas, Mexico, South California, Nevada and help Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas with their water shortage and pumped water storage.

The Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct will save Lake Powell and Lake Mead, and rejuvenate the American South-west.

The TransContinental Aqueduct. A realistic way to save Lake Mead and reverse the desertification of the American SouthWest.

Together they will double the amount of water provided to the American Southwest and more than triple the amount of pumped storage capacity for the whole nation. When we shift from gas and diesel to electric vehicles the pumped storage capacity must be increased, or the extra electricity must still be provided by fossil fuels. Solar and wind power requires pumped storage to reduce the strain on the electric grid, when the cars need to be re-charged at lunch and dinner time.

Answers to the Sierra Club full page ad in the local Gazette.

This local Gazette full page ad caught my attention.

As Christians it is our duty to be at peace with everyone if possible and to leave the world a better place than we found it. I totally agree with the Sierra Club that we need to save our planet (NOW). There are certain things we can do, and other things will happen no matter what we do. One of the latter things is Climate Change. I will answer each of the items and then come up with my suggested solution.

2021 one of the hottest years in human history. This is true, if human history starts with the Little Ice Age 800 years ago, but seen over the last 10,000 years, about 8,500 years were hotter. Long term we are entering into another ice age, which is the normal state of our planet.

As evidence from the Medieval warming is “Gården under sanden,” see here. As evidence from the Roman Warm period, see here

Rising sea level. The sea level rise is very uneven in different parts of the world

Up arrows: sea level rise, down arrows: Land rising

As we can see from the picture, most areas of the world experience sea level rise. In the upper Nordic countries, the Hudson Bay area and Alaska the land rises more than 3 feet per century. The North is still recovering from the last Ice Age. The U,S east coast and the northern Mexican Gulf has the largest sea level rise due to tectonic plate movements, but overall sea level rise is not increasing , and is about one foot per century. Besides the fact that most glaciers are decreasing , we are depleting many vulnerable aquifers, and Lake Aral is no more. All this melting and evaporated water ends up in the ocean.

Desertification. After an Aquifer has been used up and depleted, desertification sets in. The rivers that depend on the same aquifers to form and flow finally dry up. Vegetation wilts and dies, and erosion increases until there are only bedrock and sand left. Like Lake Aral began its demise in the 1970’s so the American Southwest is beginning the process now. One side effect of desertification is that the temperature control from well watered forests and grasslands is gone, and the land starts to experience

Heat stress. The people that dwell in the downtown deserts experience the so called urban heat island effect where the temperature can be up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the surrounding rural areas. This figure shows the extent of the effect:

This can partly explain why Democrats are more adamant about climate change than Republicans. Most Democrats live in urban areas, while Republicans can look at nature and see the wonderful temperature control in nature, water vapor being a condensing gas generates clouds to keep temperature rise within bounds.

Spread of tropical diseases. America is a land of immigrants. I am an immigrant. When I came to America I had with me a tube containing my chest x-rays, proof of negative Wasserman test and a bunch of other medical records. Upon entry at Kennedy Airport the customs officer opened up the tube, took a good look at the chest x-rays and all the medical and immigration records for about 5 minutes not saying a word, during which time the line behind me grew longer and longer. Then he put everything back in the tube, shook my hand and said: Welcome to America! The people that enter illegally may carry with them all kinds of diseases, such as drug resistant tuberculosis, STDs, and many tropical diseases. People entering legally from the Middle East, South Asia, most of Africa and Middle and South America are given a small dose of ivermectin per protocol.

Drought and flooding. America has a problem. The Eastern U.S.A has frequently too much rain, while the American west for the most part is too dry, made worse by multi year droughts. This is mostly because the mountains go north and south blocking the natural weather flows. Droughts and wildfires are not increasing, despite what we see on TV.

Economic losses. The economic losses from losing much of the water for the dry American South West can barely be calculated. It may eventually be in the trillions of dollars.

Severe Storms. No, storms and tornadoes are not increasing, they are just reported better.

Loss of farmland. Whenever a river dries up or an aquifer is exhausted there will be loss of farmland. Another cause is erosion, depleting the fertile topsoil. This is taking place mostly i the drying American West and South West. In the East there is occasional flood damage. Recuse we have made levees rather than letting the land flood and replenishing the soil with new silt the soil becomes depleted from nourishment.

Mass Extinction. Temperature is not the problem, loss of habitat, invasive species and land use changes are major threats, and must be vigilantly monitored to fight back invasive plants and animals, including bugs, fungi and bacteria. There is a problem with wind power. Wind turbines kill birds, and birds are important for a sustainable environment.

Ocean Acidification. Don’t look at us, look at China.

Refugees. Even if U.S. will successfully close the porous borders, there will still be two to three million legal immigrants per year, some of which have waited up to ten years for their immigration. They need to be resettled, and many prefer the dry South West, putting additional pressure on already strained water resources.

International conflict. It is way above my capability to solve international conflicts, but I can pray to God, that He, through the Holy Spirit will lead us into a worldwide revival and awakening, making us think with a sound mind rather than fall for this global insanity. But, since we are called steward the world and leave the world a better place than we entered it I will propose The TransContinental Aqueduct. A realistic way to save Lake Mead and reverse the desertification of the American South West.

It will, when fully built out provide 12 million Acre-feet of water to the American South West. This will save Lake Mead and also provide up to 50 GW of pumped storage power when fully built up. This power will be provided by an optimal mix of Solar, wind and Liquid Fluoride Thorium power to stabilize the net when the electricity demand increases from switching to electric cars and trucks. California has already had their first warning about charging electric cars.

If we switch all cars to electric power we will have to add 1,100 TWh per year to the electric grid. Electricity generated today is about 4,000 TWh per year. The cars will be recharged partly on peak demand, so the need for peak power will increase dramatically.

The TransContinental Aqueduct. A realistic way to save Lake Mead and reverse the desertification of the American SouthWest.

The American Southwest has always been subject to drought cycles, some worse than the one that is now devastating the area. Below is a very interesting presentation from ASU about a previous civilization in the Phoenix area, thriving and then gone.

Will it happen again?

The problem:

  1. Lake Mead will be emptied in less than 10 years with the current usage pattern. Then what?
  2. The hydroelectric power from Lake Mead (and Lake Powell) is diminishing as the lakes are emptied.
  3. the aquifers in Arizona, especially in the Phoenix and Tucson area, and to some extent New Mexico and the dry part of Texas are being drawn down and are at risk of being exhausted.
  4. The Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley of California is maybe the most polluted lake in all of U.S.A. It is even dangerous to breathe the air around it sometimes. The area contains maybe the largest Lithium deposit in the world.
  5. The Colorado River water is too salty for good irrigation .
  6. The Colorado river no longer reaches the Gulf of California. Fishing and shrimp harvesting around the Colorado River Delta is no more.
  7. 40 million people depend on the Colorado River for drinking water. The population is still rising rapidly in the West. Will they have water in the future?
  8. Except for California there is not much pumped Hydro-power storage in the American Southwest.
  9. Texas has plenty of wind power, but no pumped hydro-power storage. This makes it difficult to provide peak power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Nuclear power is of no help, it provides base power only. Peak power has to come from coal and natural gas plants.
  10. New Mexico has some ideal spots for solar panels, but no water is available for pumped storage.
  11. Arizona has a surging population, wind and solar power locations are abundant, but no pumped hydro-power storage.
  12. Arkansas and Oklahoma have a good barge traffic system. This proposal will increase flood control and improve barge traffic by increasing the maximum barge draft from 9 feet to 12 feet and during dry periods reverse the flow of the Arkansas River. The Arkansas river yearly water flow is nearly double that of the Colorado River.

The solution:

Build a transcontinental aqueduct from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River capable of transporting 12 million acre-ft of water yearly through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. It will be built similar to the Central Arizona Project aqueduct, supplying water from the Colorado river to the Phoenix and Tucson area, but this aqueduct will be carrying four times more water over four times the distance and raise the water nearly twice as high before returning to near sea level. The original Central Arizona Project cost $4.7 billion in 1980’s money, the Transcontinental Aqueduct will in Phase 1 cost around $200 Billion in 2022 money applying simple scaling up principles.

The Mississippi River has a bad reputation for having polluted water, but since the clean water act the water quality has improved drastically. Fecal coli-form bacteria is down by a factor of more than 100, the water is now used all the way down to New Orleans for drinking water after treatment. The lead levels are down by a factor of 1000 or more since 1979. Plastic pollution and pharmaceutical pollution is still a problem, as is the case with most rivers. The Ph is back to around 8 and salt content is negligible. Mississippi water is good for irrigation, and usable for drinking water after treatment. The Arkansas River is used as a drinking water source.

But the aqueduct will do more than provide sweet Mississippi water to the thirsty South-west, it will make possible to provide peak power to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In fact, it is so big it will nearly triple the pumped Hydro-power storage for the nation, from 23 GW for 5 hours a day to up to 66 GW when fully built out.

The extra pumped hydro-power storage will come from a number of dams built as part of the aqueduct or adjacent to it. The water will be pumped from surplus wind and solar power generators when available. This will provide up to 50 GW of power for 5 hours a day. If not enough extra power has been generated during the 19 pumping hours, sometimes power will be purchased from the regular grid. The other source of pumped hydro-power storage is virtual. There will be up to 23 GW of LFTR (Liquid Fluoride salt Thorium Rector) power stations strategically stationed along the waterway providing pumping of water for 19 hours and providing virtual hydro-power output for the remaining 5, when the aqueduct is fully built.

These 43 GW of hydro-power capacity will be as follows: Oklahoma, 0.2 GW; Texas, 18,5 GW (right now, Texas has no hydro-power storage, but plenty of wind power); New Mexico, 10.5 GW; Arizona 13.6 GW. In Addition, when the Transcontinental Aqueduct is fully built out, the Hoover dam can provide a true 2.2 GW hydro-power storage by pumping water back from Lake Mojave; a 3 billion dollar existing proposal is waiting to be realized once Lake Mead is saved.

The amount of installed hydroelectric power storage is:

U.S. operating hydroelectric pumped storage capacity

Most hydroelectric pumped storage was installed in the 70’s. Now natural gas plants provide most of the peak power. This aqueduct will more than double, triple the U.S. pumped peak storage if virtual peak storage is included. By being pumped from surplus wind and solar energy as well as nuclear energy it is true “Green power”. Some people like that.

What follows is a description of each leg of the aqueduct. Each leg except legs 9 and 10 ends in a dam, which holds enough water to make each leg free to operate to best use of available electricity and provide peak power on demand.

Leg 1 of the Trans-Continental aqueduct. From the Mississippi river to the Robert S. Kerr Lock and dam on the Arkansas River. Total length 15miles of aqueduct and 305 miles of river. Cost of water 300 kWh per acre-ft.

Leg 2 of the Transcontinental Aqueduct: From the Robert S. Kerr Lock and dam to the Eufaula Dam on the Canadian River. Total length 42 miles of lake and river. Cost of water 585 kWh per acre-ft.

Leg 3 of the Transcontinental aqueduct. From the Eufaula Dam to Ray Roberts Lake. Total length 42 miles of lake and 125 miles of aqueduct. Cost of water 900 kWh per acre-ft.

Leg 4 of the Transcontinental Aqueduct. From Lake Ray Roberts to the Brad Dam (to be built). Total length 205 miles of aqueduct. Cost of water 1735 kWh per acre-ft.

Leg 5 of the Transcontinental aqueduct. From Brad dam to Deadman Draw dam and pumped storage power plant. Total length 5 miles of lake and 60 miles of aqueduct. Cost of water 2425 kWh per acre-ft. In Phase 2 can provide up to 4 GW of pumped storage power.

Leg 6 of the Transcontinental aqueduct. From Deadman Draw dam and pumped storage power plant to Buffalo Soldier Draw dam and optional pumped storage plant.Total length 205 miles of aqueduct. Cost of water 3711 kWh per acre-ft.In Phase 2 can provide up to 4.8 GW of pumped storage power.

Leg 7, leg 8 and leg 9 of the Transcontinental aqueduct. From the Buffalo Soldier Draw dam to the highest point of the aqueduct 10 miles into Arizona. Leg 7 is 255 miles. Cost of water 6132 kWh per acre-ft. Leg 8 is 125 miles. Cost of water is 5705 kWh per acre-ft. Leg 9 is 160 miles. Cost of water is 6605 kWh per acre-ft.

The Transcontinental Aqueduct. Leg 10: The highest pumping station in Arizona to San Carlos Lake, a distance of 93 miles. Cost of water 5205 kWh per acre-ft.

The Transcontinental Aqueduct. Leg 11: From San Carlos Lake to East Diversion dam, a distance of about 60 miles. Cost of water 4905 kWh per acre-ft.

The Transcontinental aqueduct Leg 12: From the East Diversion dam to connecting to the Central Arizona aqueduct 45 miles WNW of Phoenix. Phase 1 is 20 miles of aqueduct and 85 miles of River. Cost of water is 5105 kWh per acre-ft. Phase 2 adds 130 miles of aqueduct . The cost of water is 5065 kWh per acre-ft.

The Transcontinental aqueduct, Leg 13: From the New Arlington dam to the Colorado River. Leg 13, phase 1 is 130 miles of river.Cost of water is 5105 kWh per acre-ft. Phase 2 adds 15 miles of aqueduct . The cost of water is 5130 kWh per acre-ft.

The Transcontinental Aqueduct, spur 14: The Wilson Canyon Solar farm and pumped storage plant. Can supply 13.5 GW of pumped storage power.

The Transcontinental Aqueduct, spur 15: The Poppy Canyon Solar farm and pumped storage plant. Can provide up to 28 GW of pumped storage power.

The Transcontinental Aqueduct will serve the Lower Colorado River Basin, Southern New Mexico and Western Texas. It will pump up to 12 million acre-ft of water annually from the Arkansas river and Mississippi river all the way to southern Colorado River.

The total electricity needed to accomplish this giant endeavor is about 60 billion kWh annually. or about one and a half percent of the current US electricity demand. In 2020 the US produced 1,586 billion kWh from natural gas, 956 from coal, 337.5 from wind and 90.9 from solar.

For this giant project to have any chance of success there has to be something in it to be gained from every state that will be participating. Here are some of the benefits:

Arizona: Arizona needs more water. The water from Mississippi is less saline and better suited for agriculture and the people growth makes it necessary to provide more water sources. Right now the aquifers are being depleted. Then what? One example: The San Carlos lake is nearly dry half the time and almost never filled to capacity. With the aqueduct supplying water it can be filled to 80 +- 20% of full capacity all the time. In the event of a very large snow melt the lake level can be reduced in advance to accommodate the extra flow. Likewise during Monsoon season the aqueduct flow can be reduced in anticipation of large rain events. Arizona together with New Mexico has the best locations for solar power, but is lacking the water necessary for hydro-power storage. This proposal will give 600 cfs of water to Tucson, 3,100 cfs to the Phoenix area and 3,900 cfs to the lower Colorado River in Phase 1. I phase 2 it will add 3,100 cfs to Lake Havasu and an extra 4,700 cfs to the lower Colorado River. It will also also add 28 GW of hydro-power storage capable of adding 140 GWh of electric peak power daily when it is fully built out in Phase 3.

Arkansas: The main benefit for Arkansas is better flood control and river control of the Arkansas River and allowing it to deepen the draft for canal barges from 9,5 feet to 12 feet, which is standard on the Mississippi river.

California: The water aqueduct serving Los Angeles will be allowed to use maximum capacity at all times. Additional water resources will be given the greater San Diego area. The Imperial valley will be given sweet Mississippi and Arkansas River water, which will improve agriculture yield. The polluted New River will be cut off at the Mexico border. There will be water allocated to the Salton Sea. There is a proposal to mine the world’s largest Lithium ore, mining the deep brine, rich in Lithium. (about a third of the world supply according to one estimate). This requires water, and as a minimum requirement to allow mining in the Salton Sea the water needs to be cleaned. This requires further investigation, but the area around the Salton Sea is maybe the most unhealthy in the United States. It used to be a great vacation spot.

Mexico: During the negotiations about who was going to get the water in Lake Mead Mexico did not get enough water, so they have been using all remaining water for irrigation, and no water is reaching the ocean anymore. In addition the water is too salty for ideal irrigation. This proposal will provide sweet Mississippi and Arkansas River water to Mexico, ensure that some water reaches the Colorado river delta. This will restore the important ecology and restore aquatic life in the delta and the gulf. The town of Mexicali will get some water in exchange for shutting off New River completely.

Nevada: Las Vegas is a catastrophe waiting to happen unless Lake Mead is saved. With this proposal there will be ample opportunity to make the desert bloom.

New Mexico: The state is ideally suited for solar panels. In addition to give much needed water to communities along the length of the aqueduct, it will provide 13.5 GW of pumped storage power to be made available at peak power usage for up to 5 hours a day.

Oklahoma: The main advantage for Oklahoma is a much improved flood control. It will provide the same advantage for river barge traffic as benefits Arkansas.

Texas: The state has a big problem. It has already built up too much wind power and can not give up their coal burning power plants until the electricity is better balanced. They have no hydro-electric power storage at all, and we saw the result of that in a previous year’s cold snap. This proposal will give the Texas electric grid 8.8 GW of hydro-electric power for up to 5 hours a day.

Utah: The state will no longer be bound to provide water to Lake Mead, but can use all of its water rights for Utah, especially the Salt Lake City region.

Wyoming: The state will be free to use the water in the Green River and all the yearly allocated 1.05 million acre-feet of water can be used by the state of Wyoming.

The cost to do all these aqueducts will be substantial, but it can be done for less than 350 billion dollars in 2022 money, and that includes the cost of providing power generation. Considering it involves 40 million people dependent on the Colorado River now and another 10 million east of the Rocky Mountains, it is well worth doing, much more important to do than other “green” projects, since it will save the American Southwest from becoming an uninhabitable desert.

This proposed solution cannot be made possible without changing our approach to power generation. The mantra now is to solve all our power needs through renewables. Texas has shown us that too much wind power without any hydroelectric power storage can lead to disaster. In addition, windmills kill birds, even threatening some species, such as the Golden Eagle and other large raptors that like to build their aeries on top of the generators. Solar panels work best in arid, sunny climate, such as Arizona and New Mexico, but the panels need cooling and cleaning to work best, and that takes water. They are even more dependent on hydro-power storage than wind. The transcontinental aqueduct will triple the hydro-electric power storage for the nation. Without pumped power storage we still need all the conventional power generation capacity for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Conventional Nuclear power plants doesn’t work in most places since they depend on water for their cooling, and most of these aqueducts pump water in near deserts, and there would be too much evaporation losses to use water from the aqueducts for cooling.

The only realistic approach would be to use LFTR power plants. (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors). There are many advantages for using LFTR. Here are 30 reasons why LFTRs is by far the best choice.

For this project to succeed there must be developed a better way to build SMRs (Small Modular Reactors, less than 250 MW) more effectively. The price to build a LFTR plant should be less than $2.50 per watt. While the LFTR science is well understood, the LFTR engineering is not fully developed yet, but will be ready in less than 5 years if we get to it. In the mean time there should be built one or more assembly plants that can mass produce LFTR reactor vessels small enough so they can be shipped on a normal flatbed trailer through the normal highway system. My contention is that a 100 MW reactor vessel can be built this way and the total cost per plant will be less than 250 Million dollars. To save the American Southwest we will need about 350 of them, or 87,5 billion dollars total. This cost is included in the total calculation. There will be many more of these plants produced to produce all the electric power to power all the electric vehicles that are going to be built. This is the way to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Just switching to electric vehicles will not do the trick. The electric energy must come from somewhere. To convert all cars and trucks and with unchanging driving habits will require another 600 GW of generating capacity by 2050, our present “net zero emissions” goal.

To do this project we need cooperation from all states in providing eminent domain access. The Federal government will need to approve LFTR as the preferred Nuclear process and streamline approval process from many years to less than one year.

Some of the power will come from solar panels and wind turbines, which will reduce the need for LFTR’s. One tantalizing idea is to cover the aqueduct with solar panels. This will do many things, it will not take up additional acreage, water needed to keep the panels clean is readily available, and can even be used to cool the solar panels if economically beneficial. The area available is 152 feet times 1100 miles = 1.6 billion square feet, and one square foot of solar panel produces around 1 W, which means covering the aqueduct with solar panels would produce 882 MW of power. It would also reduce evaporation. The second source of energy will be 165,000 5kW vertical wind turbines producing 825 MW when the wind is blowing. The rest of the power will cme from LFTRs. This idea requires further analysis. Here is one possible implementation of the idea:

Total volume of water is over 1 million acre-ft.

The Transcontinental Aqueduct, spur 15: The Poppy Canyon Solar farm and pumped storage plant

One of the many problems facing solar farms is that they produce electricity only when the sun shines, which is less than half the time, so for the rest of the time electricity must be provided some other way. Historically peak power demands were provided by pumped storage plant, but very few have been built since the 70’s. Peak power is now supplied by natural gas electric plants, which is for now the most economic solution. If we want to get real about reducing our fossil fuel dependence, pumped storage must be looked at seriously, especially when changing our vehicle fleet from gasoline or diesel fuel to electric power source.

Here is spur 15 proposal sketch

Spur 15 is 7 miles long, starting at 3950′ and ending at 4750′

Dam 1 is the Poppy Canyon Upper Lake. To fill this lake in a year requires Spur 15 to have a capacity of 330 cfs. It will require 240 GWh to fill the lake from the TCA connection point. It has a 4,000 feet wide and up to 640 feet high dam, topping out at 5400 feet, and the lake holds a volume of up to 240,000 acre-ft of water. It would normally hold a minimum volume of 60,000 acre-feet of water to increase the average height difference between the upper and lower dam.

Dam width 4,500′ height 540′ water storage 230,000 acre-ft

Dam 2 dams the Cove Tank dam. It has a 3,300 feet wide and up to 360 feet high dam, topping out at 4,080 feet, and the lake holds a water volume of up to 110,000 acre-ft. Water is pumped from and released to the upper dam via a 13 mile tunnel

Dam width 6,000′ height 380′ water storage 110,000 acre-ft

Dam 3 is the Poppy Canyon Lower Dam. It has a 3,300 feet wide and up to 460 feet high dam, topping out at 4,900 feet, and the lake holds a water volume of up to 70,000 acre-ft. Water is pumped from and released to the upper lake 1.8 mile tunnel.

How much energy will it generate per day? To dam 2 will be releasde 110,000 acre-ft for 5 hrs generating 115 GWh per day or 23 GW of peak power for 5 hrs. Dam 3 will release 70,000 acre-ft for 5 hrs generating 25 GWh per day or 5 GW of peak power for 5 hrs. To again fill dam 2 and 3 will require 17 GW of power from the solar panels. An alternate power would be 9 GW of LFTR power plants, generating 9 GW of alternate peak power when water is released. Most probably the power sources will be a combination of the two.

This pumped storage plant will add another 120% to the existing U.S. pumped storage capacity.

The Transcontinental Aqueduct, spur 14: The Wilson Canyon Solar farm and pumped storage plant.

One of the many problems facing solar farms is that they produce electricity only when the sun shines, which is less than half the time, so for the rest of the time electricity must be provided some other way. Historically peak power demands were provided by pumped storage plant, but very few have been built since the 70’s. Peak power is now supplied by natural gas electric plants, which is for now the most economic solution. If we want to get real about reducing our fossil fuel dependence, pumped storage must be looked at seriously, especially when changing our vehicle fleet from gasoline or diesel fuel to electric power source.

Here is spur 14 proposal sketch

Spur 14 is 100 miles long, starting at 3000′ and ending at 4700′

Dam 1 is the White Oaks Canyon Lake. To fill this lake in a year requires Spur 14 to have a capacity of 120 cfs. It will require 190 GWh to fill the lake from the aqueduct.. It has a 2000 feet wide and up to 480 feet high dam, topping out at 5140 feet, and the lake holds a volume of up to 100,000 acre-ft of water.

Dam 2 dams the Pine Canyon dam. It has a 2,200 feet wide and up to 240 feet high dam, topping out at 5,620 feet, and the lake holds a water volume of up to 60,000 acre-ft. Water is pumped from and released to the White Oaks Canyon lake to the Pine Canyon pumped storage via a 2 mile tunnel.

Dam 3 dams the Sitting Bull Canyon well above the Sitting Bull Falls recreation area. It has a 2,000 feet wide and up to 360 feet high dam, topping out at 5,610 feet, and the lake holds a water volume of up to 40,000 acre-ft. Water is pumped from and released to the White Oaks Canyon lake to the Pine Canyon pumped storage via a 2.4 mile tunnel.

How much energy will it generate per day? Dam 2 will release 60,000 acre-ft for 5 hrs generating 45 GWh per day or 9 GW of peak power for 5 hrs. Dam 3 will release 40,000 acre-ft for 5 hrs generating 28 GWh per day or 5.6 GW of peak power for 5 hrs. To again fill dam 2 and 3 will require 17 GW of power from the solar panels. An alternate power would be 4.5 GW of LFTR power plants, generating 4.5 GW of alternate peak power when water is released.

This pumped storage plant will add another 70% to the U.S. pumped storage capacity.

The Transcontinental aqueduct, Leg 13: From the New Arlington dam to the Colorado River.

This leg will start with a free-flowing Gila River for 30 miles, followed by the painted Rock Reservoir for 20 miles, the Painted Rock Dam.

This picure was taken during high runoff. It is normally dry.

The dam is at elevation 661 feet and runoff starts at 550 feet. Drainage capacity is adequate and maximum storage is 2 million acre-feet. The population of Indians and early settlers are already resettled and compensated. To fill the dam with the 2,500 cfs flow available in phase 1 would take over a year. The reservoir will be used to even out seasonal demand.

After the dam Gila river will be free glowing for 90 miles until it joins the Colorado River in the first pass. In the second pass there will be an aqueduct built with a capacity of 7,100 cfs flow for 100 miles to the

To the Martinez lake it can deliver up to 7,100 cfs. ( The design capacity of the All American canal is 15,155 cfs.) The Martinez lake is puny, and would easily be overwhelmed by surges in the water flow. To accommodate this, the Senator Wash Reservoir will have to be upgraded to be able to pump up or release at least twice as much water as is its present capacity. Lake Martinez is at about 180 feet elevation, and Senator Wash Reservoir is at a maximum elevation of 240 feet.

The Martinez lake and the Senator Wash Reservoir.

The rest of the Transcontinental Aqueduct empties out where the Gila river joins the remainder of the Colorado river a few miles downstream. It will carry on average 2,100 cfs of water to accommodate the needs of Mexico and also provide a modest amount of water to assure the Colorado river again reaches the ocean, maybe restoring some shrimp fishing in the ocean.

The 1944 water treaty with Mexico provides Mexico with 1.5 million acre-ft per year, more or less dependent of drought or surplus. It will be increased only on condition that when the Transcontinental aqueduct is finished, the New River in Mexicali will be cut off at the border, and Mexico will have to do their own complete waste water treatment.

There will be water allocated to the Salton Sea. Proposed will be the world’s largest Lithium mine, mining the deep brine, rich in Lithium. (about a third of the world supply according to one estimate). This requires water, and as a minimum to allow mining in the Salton Sea the water needs to be cleaned. This requires further investigation, but the area around the Salton Sea is maybe the most unhealthy in the United States.

What’s in it for Mexico? Mexico will get sweet , reliable water, much better suited for agriculture..

What’s in it for Arizona? The farming downstream will be better served by reliable sweet water.

What’s in it for California? The All American Canal will get a reliable supply of sweet water.

What’s in it for Lake Mead? The lower Colorado river will get an infusion of about 15,000 cfs, or about 10 MAf, which will allow lake Mead to recover by 8 to 10 MAf per year. This should solve the Colorado River’s water problem until the population served by the Colorado River reaches 60 million people.

The Transcontinental aqueduct Leg 12: From the East Diversion dam to connecting to the Central Arizona aqueduct 45 miles WNW of Phoenix.

Leg 12 of the Transcontinental aqueduct is complicated. The total length of this segment is 105 miles, 20 miles is a 6,200 cfs aqueduct, and 85 miles is the Gila River. This map may help explain it:

But there is a problem that must be solved. Gila River is now mostly dry, and goes through an Indian reservation. The Gila River used to provide about 1.3 Million Acre-ft per year, snow-melt and monsoon rains providing nearly all of it, but was seasonally dry. Now all the water and then some is spoken for, so the Indians get nothing, and without water you can do no farming, so the reserve is largely depopulated. See map:

The home of the Gila River Indian Community The Salt and Gila Rivers flow east to west. Present day dams that divert the Salt River into a series of canals are indicated. Roosevelt Dam was completed in 1911, creating Theodore Roosevelt Lake, and Coolidge Dam was completed in 1930. Important locations include the Casa Grande structure, an artifact of the Hohokam times, and the city of Florence, site of the Florence Canal, which is described in the text. The Gila Indians today live on the Reserve shown, with headquarters at Sacaton. The related Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indians live on a separate reserve on the Salt.

In Phase 1, the Gila River will free flow. In Phase 2 there will be a55 mile aqueduct thru the Indian reserve dimensioned for 10,000 cfs flow. It will provide some power with a drop of over 400 feet. The maps will look like this:

Leg 12 east starts out at 1580′ and ends at Arlington Dam, 795′
Leg 12 west starts at Arlington dam, 705′ and ends at the CAP canal at 1,380′

Total power required for Leg 12 is 160 MW for phase 1 and 320 MW for Phase 2. Since it is continuous it is best served by three 100 MW LFTR reactors.

In Phase 2 the CAP aqueduct will be replaced by one that flows from east to west, and the Mark Wilmer pumping station will be converted to the Mark Wilmer generating station with the same capacity. Electricity generated will be 16% less than the energy that used to be consumed to pump up the water.

Mark Wilmer PP Aerial March 29, 2012 Central Arizona Project photo by Philip A. Fortnam

What is in it for Arizona? The Greater Phoenix area will get an increased water supply from the canal,since Tucson is already served in Leg 11. The Gila Indian reserve will get back the water supply that was taken away from them, a way of reparation, and will again make the Gila Indian reserve a viable community.