this scenario: It is the mid-21st century. All continental U.S.
cities, towns and hamlets are now connected to one another by a
continent-wide system of water pipelines.
clean, abundant and available to all at a reasonable cost. In regions
where flooding may occur, the water is directed to huge underground
cisterns, to groundwater reservoirs or to a channel or canal system
that can safely return water to the oceans.
major agricultural areas all sources of water -- whether surface
or sub-surface -- are filled to highest usage capacities. In the
arid southwestern deserts, all subsurface aquifers are constantly
maintained at required levels, as are all streams, lakes and rivers
necessary for agricultural and recreational purposes. In the deserts,
oases have been created and in marshlands water is always available
the legal framework to support this system has been established
by the federal government ... Established usage rules have now been
legally tailored to accommodate local, state and regional requirements.
plants located along the Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico
coastlines provide the system's water. The water is then pumped
via pipelines to "water farms" located in strategic areas. These
are large, regional pipeline computer centers that in turn service
smaller facilities that are tailored to respond to the particular
needs of their area, i.e., flooding conditions, drought areas, aquifer
replenishment and so on.
farms provide backup to each other, as necessary. The pipelines
themselves follow existing gas pipeline routes where practical but
have also been considerably extended throughout the country. In
addition, cavernous cisterns, diversion channels, storage lake systems
and water treatment plants have been constructed to handle storm
system or something like it been started back in the mid-1950s along
with our interstate road system, it would now be in place, or nearly
so, and there would be no problem with the present drought in the
would now be fully maintained at safe levels as a matter of practice.
be abundant water available to agricultural regions, and in regions
subject to storms, water diversification processes would routinely
reduce flood damage.
might even provide an incentive for gas and electric utilities to
overhaul their transmissions systems and ensure that they can provide
gas and electricity anywhere needed in times of heavy usage or emergency
and state governments must act more quickly to solve this crisis
concern is that we may lose some or even much of our underground
aquifer system. Aquifer draw-down may be accompanied by drying and
mineral filling of the reservoir pores and cracks. Subsequent compaction
may increase the damage to the reservoir, perhaps permanently.
that it would be ironic, indeed tragic, if the largest and greatest
scientific establishment the world has seen to date, of which we
are a part, did not prevent the squandering and loss of our most
precious natural resource, water.