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Bringing Water To Texas From The Mississippi

  1. Jan 21, 2012 #1
    i think this would be a good idea.
    then west texas and new mexico would be green.
    then New Orleans wouldn't flood.
    i think you'd tap into the Mississippi north
    of the direct route.
    what do the civil engineers out there think?

    Have A Nice Day!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2012 #2


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    Interesting question.

    The Highest point on the Mississippi River is at the source in Lake Itasca (approx 1425 ft. The western half of texas and all of New Mexico is at elevations greater than 2000 ft.

    1. How much water do you want to take?
    2. How are you going to get it there?
    3. What route will the water follow?
    4. If used to Green West Texas and the Southwest, how much of a cost will that add to produce?
    5. Since New Orleans flooded sue to Hurricane storm surge, how much will it change flooding risk?
    6. Will diversion of water affect barge traffic on the river? Will this be taking from the midwestern economy to help the Southwest?
  4. Jan 21, 2012 #3


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    Diverting the part of river to Texas would have BIG consequences downstream. Imagine conducting an Environmental Impact Study on your proposal: consider all the possible results. IMHO, we would need this study before any decision to do it.

    New Orleans flooded because of the storm surge of a hurricane, not from water in the Mississippi River.

    The Army Corps of Engineers probably would be the ones to ask this. They have resposnsiblilty for flood control measures.
  5. Jan 21, 2012 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    Yeah I was gonna say - you'd need to take only the flood water to avoid the worst of the environmental effects, which would be tricky. Part of the reason floods are so damaging is that the existing flood control methods were not up to the task (and that's the only kid of flooding that makes the news) so the proposal translates into two parts 1. effective diverting flood waters, and 2. transporting the water someplace it is needed. (though it may be possible to use #2 to motivate better #1)

    Even diverting only that floodwater that is destructive to human endeavor can still have large environmental impacts since the river has been flooding like that for a lot longer than we've been around so the whole ecosystem has evolved to cope and even take advantage of it.

    Then there is the ecology of west texas etc to think about.
    Making it greener is not nessesarily a good idea.

    (Also means EI studies have to focus on what kind of negative impact we are prepared to live with.)

    I think all this critique boils down to "needs more research".
    Don't be put off, new ideas always get dumped on in science - that's how things work.
    There are large-scale irrigation projects around the World, have a look at some of them, see how other people overcame the major problems and get back to us?
  6. Jan 21, 2012 #5
    North central Texas already has eyes on the Red River. I've lived in both areas, and I find it ludicrious that they'll likely divert water from producing food and instead use it to support lawns, swimming pools, and ponds for gated communities.
  7. Jan 21, 2012 #6

    Simon Bridge

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    There's that: a lot of effort is being spent on irrigating deserts while building over fertile land too. But then we segway into politics and economics and the summary of the summary of the summary, as the Great Adams[1] would have it is: "people are a problem". Not one that will get solved any time soon.

    [1] Douglas Adams :)
  8. Jan 21, 2012 #7
    If these numbers are correct they kind of shoot the whole idea down, don't they? I mean, unless you're going to pump the water up into Texas...
  9. Jan 21, 2012 #8

    Simon Bridge

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    That would be correct - how you pump the water is an engineering question and whether it is affordable is an economic question. People pump water uphill all the time - they could use a hydraulic ram pump for example.
  10. Jan 22, 2012 #9
    nuclear engineer
    i want to take enough water to turn to all of Texas into farmland.
    if some of the soil is useless like the Imperial Valley in California
    cross them off the list.
    as you point out one 'stop' would be lowering river too much
    for barge travel.
    Texas is only one state away from the Mississippi.
    given then water needs to be carried west some more.
    it's not like building a tunnel from Nova Scotia to England.

    Have A Nice Day!
  11. Jan 23, 2012 #10


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    There's a fixed energy cost for desalinating water from the Gulf. An beginning threshold would be can water be brought from the Mississippi for a lower energy cost.
  12. Jan 23, 2012 #11
    mr heslep
    the cost is not the concern of an engineer on a mission:smile:
    water can be raised in elevation.
    how texas became dry isn't relevant either.
    i don't think there were ever forests there anyhow.
    i'm going to look at a map and see how far it is
    from river to west texas.

    Have A Nice Day!
  13. Jan 23, 2012 #12
    mr heslep
    it's 200 miles across the top of Louisiana to
    the Texas State line.
    then let Texas deal with it.
    they are 1/4 of the US economy.
    there might be a better way to get it there.
    there are existing rivers that more water
    could be diverted into.
    then they could be widened and reinforced.

    Have A Nice Day!
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  14. Jan 24, 2012 #13


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    So wrong.
  15. Jan 24, 2012 #14
    could you support your statement with some facts?
    i like the idea of widening and deepening an existing river.
    if the river was very small or dry the flow could be stopped totally.
    then all construction could be done 'dry'.
    then the new West Texas-Mississippi Aqueduct could be opened.:smile:
    much more efficient.

    Have A Nice Day!
  16. Jan 25, 2012 #15
    average_guy -- I'm kind of busy right now, maybe you can spend some time and come up with some estimates for

    how much water you want to move

    the power required to pump it uphill (say 1000 feet) and move it 700 miles (say, from Greenville MS to Odessa TX)
  17. Jan 25, 2012 #16
    i say start out taking the water that rises too high
    in the Mississippi.
    it could be stored in reservoirs in Texas.
    i think how much power to raise water 1000 feet
    is a civil engineering question.
    no civil engineer here.
    good call on Odessa, they could use some water.
    it may start getting drier heading west before that.

    Have A Nice Day!
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