Sharing Mississippi water with California would help feed America

·3 min read
Water makes its way south through the Central Valley by way of the California Aqueduct.
Water makes its way south through the Central Valley by way of the California Aqueduct.

A recent edition of The Desert Sun had two letters objecting to piping water from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River, and on to California. Whereas I understand water rights, but global warming has introduced new priorities.

California uses 34 million acre-feet of water per year for agriculture. About 33% of vegetables and 66% of fruits and nuts are produced in California for consumption for the nation. Each year worsens our receipt of rain and snow. A drive up Interstate 5 shows how much land has been fallowed due to lack of water. The sharing of water would greatly contribute to California being able to feed the nation.

Al Lewis,  Rancho Mirage

A look at the numbers around Mississippi River water

The idea of diverting water from the Mississippi to the Colorado River basin is an excellent one, albeit also fantastically expensive. Here are some facts to put perspective to several of the opinions already expressed here:

  • The California Aqueduct carries about 13,000 cubic feet per second through the Central Valley;

  • the Colorado River at Lees Ferry runs about 7,000 to 14,000 cfs;

  • the Mississippi at Vicksburg varies from 400,000 to 1.2 million cfs.

An aqueduct running from the lower Mississippi to the Colorado River (via the San Juan River tributary, at Farmington, New Mexico), with the same capacity as the California Aqueduct, would roughly double the flow of the latter while taking merely 1-3% of the former’s flow.

Talk about a job-creating infrastructure project, which would rival the tremendous civil engineering feats our country used to be noted for. Yes, it would be hugely expensive. But in the face of continuing, ever-worsening drought and ongoing growth of the cities of the desert Southwest, is there a better idea out there?

Jim Pettegrew, Placitas, NM

If officials OK surf park, no one is going to conserve water

I find it interesting that households have to watch how much water they are using for washing clothes, watering lawns, washing cars, etc. You tell golf courses how much water they can use, but one of the largest wave basins in the world is acceptable?

If officials approve this, the backlash will result in everyone using as much water as we care to. Don't bother sending notices on conservation; they will be ignored. We have to conserve water, but not a ridiculous wave park that will probably go bankrupt? Who is going to come to the desert and use it?

Senior citizens don’t go to wave parks. Makes me wonder how this got this far, whose interests are being served and who's benefiting. Certainly not the surrounding communities.

Every day, we hear about water conservation, restrictions. Anyone who thinks we can drain the aquifer and survive is grossly misinformed.

What if our droughts get worse? Has no one noticed how much hotter the desert is getting, not to mention the increase in fires in our area.

We are already in a severe drought. We need to protect our water supply, at all costs, and forgo our financial gains.

Christine Mazza, La Quinta

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Sharing Mississippi River water with California would feed America