The Transcontinental Aqueduct; Cost estimates.

To begin cost estimates, the model used is the cost for the Arizona central project. The waterway was constructed 1974 to 1993 at a cost of 4.7 billion dollars. In 2021 dollars that would be about 12.8 billion. The cost for the canal would be about 12 billion and 800 million for the pumping stations. The average size of the aqueduct in its beginning is 80 feet across the top and 24 feet across the bottom and the water is 16.5 feet deep. The concrete is 3.5 inches thick and, in some areas, it is reinforced with steel rebars. It is 336 miles long from Lake Havasu City to Tucson with a total lift of over 2,900 feet. The capacity starts out at over 2.2 million acte-ft per year, diminishing as the drop-off point occurs, and the total pumping of 1.4 million acre feet of water is lifted by up to 2,900 feet by 14 pumping stations using 2,500 GWh of electricity each year. The pumping stations have a total pumping capacity of 240 MW.

The transcontinental aqueduct is much bigger: The The average size of the aqueduct in its beginning is 220 feet across the top and 65 feet across the bottom and the water is 44 feet deep. The concrete is 4.5 inches thick and, in some areas, it is reinforced with steel rebars. The concrete used is 16,500 cu yd per mile. It will cost about five times as much per mile as the ACP, so the total cost for the Transcontinental Aqueduct will be (12x 5 : 336 x 1505) = 268 billion dollars.

The cost of building the dams are estimated at $1 billion per dam. There are 15 dams, of which 11 must be built before aqueduct is operational at half capacity.

There is a total of 29.1 GW of pumped power and 3.8 GW of base power generated. To get the aqueduct operational at 7.5 MAF/year it requires 16.5 GW of energy. Pumping cost capital is about $ 1.30 per watt, so the minimum pumping capital cost is 21.5 Billion dollars. When the aqueduct is fully built up the capital cost for pumping includes 23.3 GW of peak power, raising the cost to $ 52 Billion’

The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor chosen is a 100 MW unit. The reactor core assembly is small enough so it can be produced on an assembly line and delivered on truck. It can be built for $ 230 million. To complete the installation costs another # 30 million per unit. The aqueduct needs 146 for minimum flow, and another 145 when it is fully built out. The initial capital cost for grid access and minimum flow is $38 billion, double that when fully built out.

To sum it up,the capital cost for a flow of 7.5 MAF is (268 +21.5 + 38) = 327.5 billion dollars. At a flow of 15.5 MAF the cost is 387 billion. To add another 22.1 GW of 5 hour peak power per day add 5 billions for 4 dams and tunnels and 28 billion for pumps = 33 billion dollars

The Transcontinental Aqueduct. Leg 12: San Carlos Lake to the Colorado river following the Gila river, a distance of 280 miles. (Updated)

Stage 12 is a true delivery of water on demand aqueduct. The San Carlos lake has a storage capacity of a million acre-ft, the ideal buffer from the peak power demand driven uphill stages to the major delivery stage. San Carlos lake is now mostly empty, but will be normally filled to 85% of capacity, slightly less in advance of the winter snow melt. The Lake would look like this:

San Carlos lake, about half full

The Coolidge dam is now decommissioned, the lake is too often empty and the dam suffered damage in the power plant and it was no longer economical to produce power. The retrofitted dam will have a power generation capacity of up to 19,000 cfs the top of the dam is at 2535 ft, the typical water level is at 2500 ft and the drop is 215 feet, giving a maximum power output of 325 MW.

Coolidge dam before rebuilding

From there the stream follows the Gila River all the way to the Colorado River with the following dropoffs:

Where the Arizona central project waterway crosses the Gila river it will deliver up to 500 cfs to Tucson

Where the Gila river meets the Salt river it can deliver up to 1,500 cfs to the Phoenix-Scottsdale metropolitan area.

To the Martinez lake it can deliver up to 15,155 cfs, the design capacity of the All American canal. This will of course be nearly always far less, dependent on the need for water for irrigation, but we dimension the aqueduct to accomodate maximum flow. 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 down at least twice as much water as is it 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 be able to carry up to 6, 000 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 40% 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.

The maximum power generating drop during this last leg will be (2500 – 190 – 2.2X 280) = 1694 feet. With an average flow of 14,000 cfs this will generate 1.9 GW of power, but the realized power output will be determined by the actual water demands.

The Transcontinental Aqueduct. Leg 10: Round Mountain Rockhound Reservoir to Cove Tank Reservoir, a distance of 13 miles.

Stage 9 ended up in the Round Mountain Rockhound Reservoir. The dam is 400 feet high and will top out at 5360 feet with a maximum water level at 5350 feet. This is the western high point in the Transcontinental aqueduct. Stage 10 and forward will deliver peak energy when possible. This stage can deliver peak energy only 5 hours a day, or deliver the day’s worth of peak energy whenever called for. To make this possible there will be a tunnel and pumping station capable of delivering up to 95,000 cfs when called for. The drop is maximum (5410 – 3690 – 13×2.2) = 1702 feet and minimum (5300 – 4000 -13×2.2) = 1272 feet with an average of 1500 feet, delivering 11.5 GW of pumped hydro-storage peak power for 5 hours a day.

The tunnel to the Cove Tank reservoir is 13 miles long and the power station is somewhere in the tunnel’s path. The pumps are not reversible. The Cove Tank Reservoir dam is 1 mile wide and 250 feet high, containing 60,000 acre-ft of water, enough for 7.5 hrs of filling it at 95,000 cfs, or maximum flow capacity of this stage.

The Transcontinental Aqueduct. Leg 9: Martin Tank Lake to Round Mountain Rockhound Reservoir, a distance of 210 miles.

Stage 8 went from Arch Lewis Canyon Lake to Martin Tank Lake. The Martin Tank Lake dam is 22260 feet wide and 230 feet high. The Lake will contain about 30,000 Acre-ft when full, about eighteen hours worth of storage.

The elevation at the Martin Tank lake will top out at 4620 feet with maximum water level at 4610 feet. The aqueduct will first descend to 3980 feet, as it crosses the Rio Grande in La Mesa, a distance of 50 miles. The elevation difference is (4620 – 3980 – 50 X 2.2) feet = 530 feet. Releasing 24,000 cfs of water 530 feet will generate 1 GW of energy for 19 hrs/day. From La Mesa it will climb to the Round Mountain Rockhound Reservoir. The dam is 400 feet high and will top out at 5360 feet with a maximum water level at 5350 feet. The total lift of the water in stage 9 is (5350 – 3980 + 160×2.2) feet = 1722 ft. To lift 24,000 cubic feet per second 1722 feet requires seven 500 MW LFTR nuclear reactors, . T he Round Mountain Rockhound Reservoir will contain about 40,000 Acre-ft of water when full, about one day of storage. For 5 hours per day these seven reactors used in this stage can provide 3.5 GW of peak power to the grid instead of pumping water, thus acting as a virtual hydroelectric peak power storage. The Round Mountain Rockhound Reservoir will look like this:

The Transcontinental Aqueduct. Leg 6: Grassland Canyon Lake (to be made) to White Oaks Canyon Lake (to be made).

The fifth stage was from East of Sweetwater dam (to be constructed) to Grassland Canyon Lake (to be made). The sixth stage is big! The aqueduct travels from South of Lubbock, Texas to the Guadaloupe Mountains in New Mexico, a distance of 200 miles.

The elevation at the Grasslands Canyon lake will top out at 2800 feet with maximum water level at 2790 feet. The White Oaks Canyon dam is 400 feet high and will top out at 5000 feet with a maximum water level at 4950 feet. The total lift of the water in stage 5 is (4950 – 2790 + 200×2.2) feet = 2600 ft. To lift 25,000 cubic feet per second 2600 feet requires twelve 500 MW LFTR nuclear reactors, three on the Texas Grid and nine on the Western national grid. The White oaks Canyon Lake will contain about 130,000 Acre-ft of water when full, about three days of storage. For 5 hours per day these twelve reactors used in this stage can provide 6.0 GW of peak power to the grid instead of pumping water, thus acting as a virtual hydroelectric peak power storage. 1.5 GW of this will be used by the Texas Power Grid, and 4.5 GW by the Western U.S. Power grid, and they have to be coordinated.The White Oaks dam will look like this:

The Transcontinental Aqueduct. Leg 5: East of Sweetwater dam (to be constructed) to Grassland Canyon Lake (to be made).

The fourth stage was from North of Baird dams (to be constructed) to East of Sweetwater dam (to be constructed

The elevation at the East of Sweetwater dam is 2450 feet. From the East of Sweetwater dam to the Grasslands Canyon Lake the distance is 90 miles . The Grasslands Canyon lake will top out at 2800 feet with maximum water level at 2790 feet. The total lift of the water in stage 5 is (2790 – 2450 + 90×2.2) feet = 538 ft. To lift 26,000 cubic feet per second 538 feet requires two 500 MW LFTR nuclear reactors plus use another 240 MW from the Texas grid. The EGrasslands Canyon Lake will contain about 110,000 Acre-ft when full, more than two days worth of storage. For 5 hours per day these two reactors can provide 1.0 GW of peak power to the grid.

Jul 1. The Word for today.

Every day the news is devastating, depressing and seemingly hopeless. Some turn off the TV news altogether, hoping that ignoring the news will make them feel better. But we are called to be in the world, and it is our duty to leave the world a better place than we found it. To do that we must know what is happening. One way is to follow the Apostle Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV). Then we find that there is much good happening for which to be thankful..

Here are a few examples: The Covid pandemic is finally diminishing, and we have vaccines and effective treatments avilable. HydroxyChloroQuine together with Zinc and maybe Azithromycine is a cure if taken early in more than 60% of the cases. It is even effective in the later stage of the sicness if taken in much larger doses. Ivermectine plus Zinc is even more effective, over 80% success rate if taken early. These are proven facts, but the media is still bound to promote vaccines as the only solution. Thinking positively, vaccines are good for people over 50, under 50 you are better off with either HCQ or Ivermactine, taken in proper doses of course. An overdose of Tylenol can destroy your kidneys and even cause death, yet it is safe and effective in proper doses. The point of all this is that we have learnt so much during this pandemic for which we should be thankful,.. and the proper treatments should be promoted.

I could go on with climate change. Yes, there is climate change, and this is on balance good. When you want hothouses to yield more, you increase the CO2 level, typically double it. This leads to increased yields. Since CO2 levels have increased, we can now feed 2 billion more people than before, and have fewer people starving. The temperatures in the tropics are not increasing, the control mechanism is clouds, they cool by day and warm by night. The control is so good that just one percent change in cloud cover means more than all the increase in the CO2 levels. One place where God’s temperature control doesn’t work perfectly is in deserts. With no clouds, no temoerature control. So w must do what we can to prevent more areas from becoming a desert. One way is to plant more trees. This is especially important to lower temoeratures in urban areas with all their roads, houses and parking lots.

My dream is to see built a transcontinental aqueduct from the Mississippi river to the Colorado River. It would save the southwest from becoming a desert, save Lake Mead, double the irrigation in the Imperial Valley and Mexico, water the people of Arizona and New Mexico and provide much needed hydroelectric power storage for the state of Texas. At the moment Texas has none, but they have a lot of wind power and no way to store the energy to use when the wind is not blowing. Arizona and New Mexico would like to have solar power, but they do not have the water to provide hydroelectric power storage. The aqueduct will provide the water for the hydroelectric power storage as the water flows down from the highlands. All it takes is twenty-three Liquid Fluor Thorium nuclear Reactors of 500 Megawatt capacity each to power the aqueduct, so it is very doable. Congress is now disussing an infrastructure bill. If there wver was a project worth their consideration this would be it!