Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Colonial Thinking

Let us thank the laws of physics and economics that it would be expensive to ship midwestern water to other parts of the country.  Otherwise, we'd have a fight on our hands.
Some scientists call the Great Lakes the United States’ greatest natural resource.
So why can’t the Southwest, the most water-depleted part of the country, tap into that immense supply?

How about we're not your go-rham colony?  How about you drain the pool and let the green mid-western lawn revert to sand?

Apparently a Phoenix newspaper is interested in a Milwaulkee suburb's attempt to find a loophole in the Great Lakes Compact because it would give them a glimmer of a legal hope for some future expatriation of our fresh water.

So what does that mean for Phoenix’s chances to extract water from the Great Lakes? Well, if Waukesha’s diversion is approved, that would provide a glimmer of hope for many water-starved areas out west.
"It would give the Southwest hope to maneuver around the Great Lakes Compact,” Rowen said. “Who is to say somebody farther southwest couldn’t do the same thing? It’s a lot more complicated and an engineering impossibility, but who knows what solutions could arise in future?”
But Kehl feels even entertaining that possibility provides a serious danger to the Great Lakes.
“Regional cities are dangerous enough,” she said. “They would deplete the lakes. It’s a large system, but a fragile one. If we disrupt it, it would become unuseful to us.”
I don't expect to live to see the export of our fresh water to the American Southwest become even a remote possibility.  I'm skeptical it ever will.

The question is interesting because it is an example of Anthropocene hubris at its worst.  It is an example of preferring large scale disruption of multiple biomes instead of adapting to local conditions.

In the north, we accommodate cold and wet.  In the south, they accommodate heat.  In the southwest they need to accommodate dry.  At least until the day that global climate change deals them something different.  Then we'll all accommodate.  It is how humans role.  It is how we live with Anthropocene humility.

If that means fewer pools and water conservation, let it be done.
If that means a smaller population, so let it be done.
If that means you don't get to live like people elsewhere, welcome to the limits of life in the real world.

Mid-Western Dreaming

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