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05 April 2015


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Mark: Bill C-26 or the Transboundry Water Removal Act was introduced by the Harper government in May 2010. It is currently awaiting second reading. We may not be the same nation that passed a law against bulk water removal, but we seem to be a very very similar one.

William R. Cumming

Well I have always thought US support for a sea-level canal across Mexico might provide some full employment for Mexicans with US providing shovels, mechanized and otherwise. The current $10B expansion of the Panama Canal does not look like it will really help the VLCC that are now coming off the ways. The Chinese would probably also help since there current involvement in Panama Canal ops and expansion remains well below the horizon in the nation that in part sent President Carter out of office for betrying the US heritage as guardian of the CANAL. Isn't geo political stratergizing fun?


the Gaza settlers pioneered drip irrigation. a small bore pipe under pressure with a hole next to each plant is run. periodically a sprinkler valve doses each plant. this technology has been applied to sewage disposal in rocky soils.

one of these we will wake up surprised w/ a breakthru in fusion technology. the planet has plenty of water, salt water. we just need the energy to desalinate it. Australia has spent a lot of money doing that, & there problems getting rid of the salt. But electricity to cheap to meter would be a game changer.


America loves it some Palin.
The media treats her every word with breathless respect.
If she is for this water diversion program, then there is tea in it.
What do you think she represents, the bread part of bread and circuses?

Mark Logan


I am of course being a bit fascious. That law is perfectly understandable to me. I am a "westerner" and know that water is gold, and there is no doubt that Canadians are being very wise by not to be careless about precedents on water use. I don't blame or begrudge them one bit for this.

Yet I do not see it as a block on this proposal. It also brings Alaskan water to Canada, and I feel sure that if Canada wanted it they would find it easy to make exceptions.

The real "block" is something else. Point being how reluctant we have become to engage in big undertakings. This project is rejected out of hand now. Once, it would not have been.


Re Andy,

I would add also freight rail to your list. According to this article, a relatively modest investment in upgrading our freight rail infrastructure would create a virtuous cycle benefiting industry and people alike:



Mark: I'm not against it because it's a mega-project per se. I'm against it because I can't see any way it works without disrupting fairly vital river systems in my province for starters. If it were a pipeline running from Alaska to the Southwest I'd have no problem, work out a fair price for transit rights over any crown land it has to cross, and away you go.

With this project, or any export of water Canada can't make exceptions. Once an export is up and running there would be no legal way way to cut back, and no way to reduce the flow without devastating anyone downstream who had become dependent on the water, no matter how the circumstances upstream change or what the effects of the diversion prove to be.



This link was sent to me by a friend in an email alerting me to the Frank-Brown debate, and how worried that Frank is said to be with Brown's gains with the voters.

I also noticed a link regarding NAWAPA located on the right side of the page listed above.

Patrick Lang


A good idea is a good idea. pl


It's a good idea for the people in the Southwestern US and Mexico. I'm still not convinced flooding a huge chunk of the BC Interior's habitable land is such a great deal for us.

Again, this is bias on my part perhaps. Looking at the interactive LaRouche map, the project would involve the destruction of the town I grew up in.

So I suppose the question really comes down too is a good idea a good idea, if it would have to be imposed against the wishes of people who's lives and livelihoods would be affected or destroyed by it's implementation.

William R. Cumming

Okay WAR with CANADA probably not feasible given mutual dependency. So here is another tack! All Canadian Rivers flowing into US including Alaska become Canadian territory for the entire watershed of that river. And all US rivers flowing into CANADA become US territory for the entire watershed of that river. The result might surprise quite a few people! And of course still set Quebec free for the sole purpose of decent food and culture.

Patrick Lang


OK. No invasion. Here's what we do - we have twenty million Americans emigrate to western Canada and take up citizenship. Then we have them elect provincial governments that demand their "sovereignty" from Ottawa. After that we accept requests from British Columbia and Alberta for statehood. What do you think? (This is a joke. I know this fantasy talks to the worst paranoia of Canadians). pl


Just a quick reality-check on this topic...

While projects like this would create lots of high-paying jobs for folks like me, all too often the end result of making the desert bloom is an unsustainable mess of earth, waters, and skies polluted by some nasty saline compounds.

Arid climates have certain geological and hydrological characteristics that are just plain different from climates where water is plentiful. Add irrigation techniques, especially ones that are not carefully-tailored to the land as it is, and the result can quickly lead to an environment much harsher than a desert. Agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley of California is a good example of what can go wrong when you just add water to the desert, and many of the problems that have emerged there don't have easy solutions.

I'm not suggesting that life in the desert can't be improved by better supplies of water (it can), and I'm definitely not asserting that there is no emerging crisis in water supplies in both the developed and the developing world (because there is). Clean fresh water is a precious resource, and we definitely need to start acting like we fully appreciate this fact.

But people who think that you can just add water to the desert and turn it into a green and sustainable paradise are making the hydrological equivalent of the same mistake made by people who think you can invade a middle-eastern country and thus quickly turn the whole region into a sustainable collection of Jeffersonian democracies.

One has to be a lot more careful about making wholesale revisions to otherwise stable systems, whether they are hydrological or political. So even though I'm sure I could profit handsomely from projects like NAPAWA, it wouldn't be my first choice for improving national infrastructure, because I suspect that the true costs of such an enterprise would be much larger than initially expected, and that many of the changes that result could be both unfortunate and irreversible.

Adam L Silverman

ir: while meeting water needs is important, especially as we've been experiencing record heat for a while now (and for the purposes of this comment, let's be agnostic as to whether this is cyclical or the result of more structural/permanent climate change as that's a discussion for another day) that is effecting crop yields, but it has to be matched by other infrastructure improvements and upgrades. The best place to start may be the American Society of Civil Engineers annual report card on US infrastructure: http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/.
The ASCE gives US infrastructure a very poor grade and estimates the fixes will cost $2.2 trillion. If is was enacted, especially if the legislation required that the vast majority, if not all of the equipment and material be American made. As this insightful column argues, we've deranged our economy as we've got high unemployment and low production: http://modeledbehavior.com/2010/09/07/rome-is-burning/. Spending the money to upgrade and fix the infrastructure, and making sure that most of it stays in the US, would go along way to not only getting us out of the unemployment trap we're in, but also reinvigorating our manufacturing base. Moreover, our aging and decrepit infrastructure is a threat to our safety and security. The explosion in San Bruno was caused by a gas pipe that was built in the1940s - clearly the invisible hand of the market is not forcing investment in infrastructure to keep pace. Remember that bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis? Same type of problem. Go and check the state by state portions of the report card and you can see just how much of a death trap the state you live in is. Additionally we do need to get ahead of the game on things like wind and solar. Not because they're going to solve all of our energy problems, but because we're loosing the technological and R&D edge to the Chinese who are plowing on with ease because of a command economy and disregard for international law: http://www.salon.com/technology/how_the_world_works/2010/09/09/the_offshore_windmill_innovation_gap/index.html.

The key to remember in all of these discussions is that it doesn't really matter who spends a dollar in the US, what matters for it to have a beneficial, and dare I say stimulative effect on the economy, is that it has to be spent. The heart of the supply side/trickle down argument was always that money is fungible - it can become anything. So if you cut marginal tax rates, especially on those that invest and own things, they'll have more money to do so. We now know that the less disposable income one actually has, the quicker they are to spend whatever money comes in as they have no choice - it has to go to rent/mortgage, food, gasoline, etc. The supply siders did get the money is fungible part right: it can be turned into anything. So if we turn it into spending on infrastructure revitalization and repair it becomes wages and money spent for equipment and material, which also becomes wages, all of which will be invested, saved, and spent and taxed. So it becomes a win all around: money is pumped into and around the economy, it is earned and invested and spent, decreasing unemployment, increasing manufacturing and revenue, and thereby decreasing the deficit (because revenue has increased). Moody's chief economist has a great table from 2008 showing the effects on the economy of different types of spending (about half way down the page): http://www.economy.com/dismal/article_free.asp?cid=102598. At the end of the day no one really cares, other than ideologues that would see everything disintegrate to prove their points, if that dollar you've got in your pocket originates with the federal, state, or local government, with the private sector, with the rich or the poor - all that matters is that its a dollar and that its in your pocket and it can be used and by being used made into anything.


Alberta would be easy. (Applicable joke: Q: What's the difference between Texas and Alberta? A: Alberta thinks of itself as part of the US.) And you ommitted the fun part in your scenario. Which would come when people in the US started fighting over how the introduction of new states would affect the political map.

I'd guess the right would try to have BC and Alberta amalgamated, to minimize the number of new left wing votes int the Senate, While the left would probably try to Cut BC up into Vancouver Island, The Lower Mainlaind, and the North and South Interior if they could, and probably separate North and South Alberta so Edmonton and Calgary were the capitals of different states. Similar to how you've got two Dakotas when there is absolutely no rational reason for more than one Dakota, or in fact any Dakotas to exist as separate entities.

Hell add in a few unreasonable demands from BC (We'd want the Alaska panhandle back for starters), and we could keep two nations bogged down in a long term constitutional crisis. Sounds like a blast to me.


Thanks, Cieran...

I just spent three days in the Phoenix metropolitan area and could not have described my sense of the situation there better in that it is a microcosm of the risks of eco-engineering on this scale.

The water problems in AZ may not be obvious yet and they may not develop into a fundamental crisis, but the corollary to your presentation would be a simple question: how does one undo the harm once it is done?

Mark Logan

Grimgrin, The pipeline idea reminds me of when Califoria had designs on our Columbia river water. Our governer at the time sent a message. "We will allow a 1" pipe. If you guys can suck as hard as you blow, you will get all the water you need."

Or so the legend goes...

Nope, we need a river, beyond the range of any pipe. Surely something can be worked out. Hiding behind current statutes that has Canada sparing nary a drop despite any an all surpluses strikes me as, well, sort of odd. There has to be a middle ground. One where Canada could turn off the spigot somewhere in the future, perhaps.

Clearly the plan would have to be updated for the current situation. The Fraser is not what it was in the 50's. A prosperous US is in the national interest, oui?

BTW, is it true you have large deposites of uranium? Why is it being concealed underground? Hmmmm...


The furtile Cresent? Didn't that become a salt pit?

John Wesley Powell referred to that part of America as the great American desert. Let us leave it like it is. It will cost a whole lot less.

Patrick Lang


I don't care what you say, we don't want West Virginia back, except perhaps for the panhandle counties. The people there still think that the state university is in Charlottesville. pl


For some reason, this reminds me of a hairbrained scheme some Republican from Georgia thought up to divert water from the Great Lakes down to the Southeast, ostenibly so that Atlanta wouldn't have to excise some sort of restraint in its growth and could continue simply throwing up developments with no thought to the future.

I live in AZ, and for the most part our water problems could be dealt with in a fashion if we used common sense (desert landscaping, stop trying to build communities in the middle of nowhere because "cheap land!", etc).

California is on its own though. Right now you've got massive agribusiness types parading illegal aliens through the streets as part as "Hispanics for Water" or something to appeal to left wing voters.


I am also in New Zealand right now. What a beautiful and friendly country!

Of course, I keep getting asked if I am from Texas and when they ask what I do, if I am thinking of coming to work as a police officer out here. I didn't realise that NZ was that hard up for law enforcement. Looking out my window at the view, I guess its true you can become jaded to a thing.


It would probably be cheaper and easier for all concerned to relocate Las Vegas to Alaska.

OK. No invasion. Here's what we do - we have twenty million Americans emigrate to western Canada and take up citizenship...

Ah, the Tibetan option. Why not just send up 38 million for a majority and run the whole country?

ex-PFC Chuck

Just this morning I saw an article on Science Daily about a graphene-based breakthrough in water filtering technology that has promise of inexpensive filtering of sea water into fresh.
Below are the two summary paragraphs:

"Dr Nair said: 'The water filtration is as fast and as precise as one could possibly hope for such narrow capillaries. Now we want to control the graphene mesh size and reduce it below nine Angstroms to filter out even the smallest salts like in seawater. Our work shows that it is possible.'

"Dr Irina Grigorieva, a co-author of the study, added: 'Our ultimate goal is to make a filter device that allows a glass of drinkable water made from seawater after a few minutes of hand pumping. We are not there yet but this is no longer science fiction.'"

If this proves out it would be a game-changer, especially on arid coast lines like Southern California and countries of the Middle East.


Alba Etie

Byron Raum
'Black Muslim " , is this an attempt at irony

Alba Etie

Mark Logan
This would not be the way to face population growth. The most immediate impact of the water diversion would be to destroy the salmon runs in Alaska .
A better solution is to do what San Antonio Texas has done - a very forward leaning and mandatory water conservation program . This is a critical issue here in Texas - our Colorado River is about dried up . The SA water conservation initiative came from having lost a court battle to tap the Colorado River . As it is now we are about to loose the Matagorda Bay because of high salt levels- if that happens a huge driver of the Texas economy will be gone - no more blue crabs , shrimps or oysters . Our best source of fresh water is Conservation .

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