Comments about ‘The fight for water: Can the mighty Mississippi save the West?’

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Published: Sunday, May 13 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

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Iowa City, IA

Before all these decisions are made, everyone needs real science on global warming, get rid of the hocus pocus and false reports and flat out lies which have been admitted by pro-global warming scientists and get some fact sactioned by both sides of the scientific debate. Until that is done, there is not reason to start making drastic decisons on partisan information.

Buena Vista, VA

Very interesting article; what I would really like to see is a map of the possible canal system diverting Mississippi River water into the Navajo into the San Juan into the Colorado River. A picture is worth a thousand words, and this one would be useful. And ps, I agree with 3grandslams.

Centerville, UT

I would favor government policies that reward conservation now rather than wait until the need grows desperate.

Sugar City, ID

Would diverting water that feeds the Great Salt Lake (such as Bear River) be a good idea? I don't think so. The water from the lake effect of the GSL provides the water for the Wasatch mountain watershed. We should try to grow the lake if possible, then there would be more evaporation resulting in more snow in the watershed. I think. Are there any scientists that can predict the effect if the lake dried up or if it expanded?

Salt Lake City, UT

And yet some people think we need to increase the population...

one old man
Ogden, UT

Wouldn't sensible controls on runaway development help?

Kearns, UT

Conservation should be at the top of the list. I now live in St. George, Utah and the residents here use way to much water. I would say 70-80% of my neighbors water their lawn every day in the heat of the day. Nothing like throwing water on your grass at 3pm in 100 degree weather. I say if St. George wants a pipeline, make them earn it with conservation first, otherwise let them go dry until they learn to use wisely.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

Ironic that many don't believe in the science of climate change yet want to reserve the right to grab the water that belongs to others in order to promote their unsustainable lifestyles, just in case. You want the desert, you get the desert. You want grass, go where it grows. Ridiculous to spend money sending water to where it is not naturally occurring. Also great political spin to try and promote siphoning off the Mississippi to "save" those of us who live with it from flood waters. As though that pipeline would be turned off when there are no floods. Right. The Colorado basin states have shown how well they act as resource stewards. They're wrecking their economy, we graciously decline the favor to join them in self destruction.

Lafayette, IN

Charge people the true cost of the water. Do not subsidize water for the west via Federal price breaks (i.e. from the pockets of We The People). Mississippi water would then be price-prohibitive.

William Gronberg
Payson, UT

There are two forces that keep this “world” turning. They are inertia and money. It is the latter that drives the need and want for more water in the Southwestern United States. The present dominant economic system absolutely must have an ever growing population. Just getting a stagnant population to ever increase its needs and wants for more goods and services will not by itself produce enough money. More young people, who want more goods and services, are a very major force that will produce more money. Where can the people with money and power get more young people. The answer is not getting the majority American population to have more babies. Most households require two paychecks to just sustain the wants and needs of a family of four. There is no growth in population there. Only immigration will produce the young and large families needed. Immigration brings more people and also stimulates internal migration to the dry Southwest. Ever expanding cities and towns are an absolute must to keep the real estate, lumber, hardware, furniture and construction industry healthy and producing the money that is needed and wanted. Follow the money.

Taylorsville, 00

@georgeman: Really? Ouch. Most of that water isn't even reaching the root systems before it evaporates, is it?

To topic: Are there stretches of the river that pass through areas where water evaporates, but the evaporation doesn't benefit much locally? Would it be beneficial to simply place structures that reduce the evaporation nearby by reflecting sunlight that would otherwise reach the water, or even recapture the evaporated water and store it or reintroduce it to the river?

The structures themselves could even be used for additional purposes, depending on the local need.

Hoosier in Utah
Spanish Fork, UT

The real problem is a refusal to adjust to one's environment. Fancy yards filled with rather useless grass are a relic from English manors. That's right: Great Britain, known for its dreary (i.e., rainy) weather. I'll even admit rather enjoying walking barefoot upon lush sod in my home state, where green lawns don't need much water supplementation beyond what falls from the sky.

But I live in Utah now. It never ceases to amaze me that people still want their yards to look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens. And while I also like to golf, the amazingly green courses of Mesquite are a stark contrast to the barren red hills surrounding them.

Bottom line, maybe it is time to start charging for water what it is worth. I can play on a golf course that is frugal with water management and smart with which materials it uses. Anyone who wants to pretend we don't live in a desert should be prepared to pay accordingly.


I think pipeline along the coast from the mouth of the Columbia River to Southern California should be studied. It might even be placed in the ocean. The Columbia River dumps more water in the ocean in a week than Nevada uses in a year. Use that water in California so more Colorado River water can be diverted to users further north in the Colorado Basin. That project may be technically easier than the Mississippi pipeline referred to in this article. All options should be looked at.

Harry Case

And when water is diverted from one river to another what is to prevent the translocation of non-native and invasive species? There's a lot to consider here.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

So in addition to piping Midwestern water, Mr. Gronberg wants to create an immigrant pipeline to sustain his local economy? Economies stagnate when nothing new is created. Service-based economies are merely an exchanging of wealth. The answers can't come from always looking to profit from someone else. America is firmly entrenched in the pride cycle, where so-called "Job Creators" are worshiped in the hopes that they will trickle down the crumbs from their tables.

BYU Track Star
Los Angeles, CA

"Whiskey is for drinking, Water is for Fighting" (Mark Twain) I'm sure the Water Managers in Utah have read the recent Cal-Berkeley weather forecasts extending out to mid-Century. It isn't pretty. The studies bottom line is that should weather patterns hold, the Rain and Snow fall will not be able to support the populations in the US West. Cities like Phoenix, Vegas, the Wasatch Front will have chronic water shortages. The study concludes and says Millions of people will have to relocate somewhere east of the Mississippi River to be where the water is. IMHO, I think the study conclusion is wrong. Prehaps bringing in some of the Mississippi water to the West is part of of menu of solutions. Los Angeles is about 100 years ahead of Utah in the sense that L.A. has three (or four) sources of water. I've heard natural runoff could only support 200,000 Angelenos. Now with these three additional water sources 19 Million of us have water to live on. Finally, there is another axiom "Water flows to money". The financial interests in the West need to start a conversation on how to protect their investments.


"Waste not - Want NOT"
We who live in an arid climate area do NOT need England type landscaping.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

"The financial interests in the West" have "invested" in a desert. Protect it, yes, but it is a desert. If you don't want to live in a desert, invest some place else. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently "invested" in 6,000 acres of Missouri. Pay attention.

William Gronberg
Payson, UT

Per Midwest Mom: “So in addition to piping Midwestern water, Mr. Gronberg wants to create an immigrant pipeline to sustain his local economy?”

I suggest a re-read of what I wrote. I only wrote an analysis of why I think “the present dominant economic system” requires more people and therefore more water. My analysis is probably half baked at best because there are probably many other factors I did not think of and I only have 200 words. Nowhere did I endorse the half baked idea of moving Mississippi River water uphill one vertical mile.

As for the immigrant pipeline, that is reality. I did not say it should be created, it is the real world now and has been for a very long time. Money drives the immigrant pipeline. Our government needs young taxpayers, other governments need to reduce their underemployed populations, banks need to make loans, real estate salesmen need young families to sell homes to, lumber producers and carpenters need customers, etc. etc.

Even IF I have the problem correctly analyzed, the cure may be worse than the disease. Those who have all the answers are probably “quacks”.

Invisible Hand
Provo, UT

"I would hate to see us get into the situation where water rates are so expensive that only the people who have a lot of money can have grass and trees,"

This quote illustrates the tragedy of the commons. We need to figure out who owns the water and let those owners (states) sell it at market rates (after assuring that the ecosystem has what it needs, another argument altogether). Maybe it doesn't make sense to farm here in the desert. Maybe it doesn't make sense to have golf courses or lawns. I don't know the answer, but I'm confident that the free market knows if we would allow it to work.

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