No. Not that pipeline, the other pipeline.
We should build a pipeline from San Diego, just across from Tijuana, to Brownsville, Texas,
that’s about 1,600 miles. Such a pipeline would connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Of course, safeguards to prevent cross ocean species migration would have to be installed at both ends, but it would be a relatively simple procedure. An oil pipeline of the same length would cost about four (4) Billion dollars. Since a water pipeline would not have to be made of steel, the costs would be significantly less than that. But even if there were no savings, it would be worth it.
Let’s look at three major problems that will cost us billions over the next ten years or so.
- The lack of control at our southern border.
There have been many calls for a fence along the border, but it is a political hot potato. We need a steady flow of immigrants across the border for many more reasons than I care to go into here. A pipeline, with its attendant buffer and security protection, would provide an effective barrier to illegal immigration and funnel cross border traffic to legitimate crossing points. Huge savings in the cost of Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement, and Homeland Security would accrue. Additionally, it would force us to reckon, finally, with the issue of recreational drugs. That flow would slow to a trickle. Local resources now devoted to law enforcement, judicial proceedings, and incarceration would be freed up for more constructive uses.
- The continuing drought in the southwest.
While I do not want to get into a discussion about Climate Change, the fact of life in the southwest, including California, is long term drought. Even with slight natural improvements in rainfall, it is likely that the loss of crops will cost us billions in increased cost of food and the loss of jobs that would result. Our growing population is putting tremendous pressure on the limited water resources throughout the country, but especially in the southwest. By constructing de-salinization plants at strategic points along the pipeline, fresh water could be delivered where it was needed to irrigate crops, provide drinking water, and supply water for industrial purposes. Sale of this water could generate significant revenues, including taxes at the local, state, and federal level. It is likely that the significant depletion of the aquifers in the region could be at least stabilized, if not reversed. The process creates a salt sludge that could be pumped back into the pipe to re-join the ocean, or directed to shallow flats where solar evaporation would produce sea salt in huge quantities for industrial use. That is, after all, how sea salt has been harvested for thousands of years.
If what we are told about climate change and the rising sea level is even partially true (forget about the cause for a moment) the pipeline might even slow that process down a little.
- The now long term unemployment, especially among those under thirty.
The construction of such a pipeline would require a huge labor force. Even after completion, maintenance and operations would still require significant manpower. Additionally, at each de-salinization station communities would spring up to provide housing, schooling, provisioning, and support services. The boom to local economies would be incredible.
I’m sure there are pitfalls I haven’t considered. After all, I’m a cook, not a construction engineer. But I am also sure there are benefits I haven’t identified either. On the whole, I am sure it’s not a worse idea than, say, oh Hell, pick any idea the government has had in ten or so years.
Let’s build a pipeline. Let’s make water one of the few things we don’t have to worry about anymore.