Monday, October 5, 2009

Water Rights Reflection - T. Boone Pickens Ain't Who I'm Pickin'

In the fight for the tapping of the Ogallala aquifer in Texas discussed in the article "There Will Be Water" from Business Week, I can't entirely side with Mr. Boone Pickens. I ain't pickin' him for my water needs! Then again, I don't live in Texas and don't know the full extent of the water shortages they're having there.

Regardless, it seems that using up anywhere close to half of the water in an aquifer would have dramatic effects on wildlife and plants that are growing above it. I'm glad to have been able to read this article, because before having done so, I thought that T. Boone Pickens was some sort of alternative energy visionary and an environmental guru. Of course, I should have known better when I've only seen his commercials on CNBC! In the "There Will Be Water" article he is painted as an old kook who's trying to make a quick buck off of other people's ignorance. I do agree with his wind power ideas, but he might be going too far with his water plan.

A quick check here - - which is the Wikipedia article on aquifers, enlightened me to the fact that aquifers are used all of the time for the same general purpose that Pickens is suggesting. They are used for well water and sustain people all of over in this way. But should a person or corporation be tapping all of this water and transporting it for a high price tag? There are other ways, though they will probably necessitate the same pipeline system that Pickens has in mind. For instance, a large desalination facility could pipe the water up to Dallas and other cities from the Gulf of Mexico. I also saw a type of water treatment facility on the show "Monsters Inside Me" that was located somewhere in the Midwest. The facility processed and recycled the water from the sewage system.

I also just watched an episode of the show "Modern Marvels" that was, in fact, entitled "Water," and in this documentary the Ogallala aquifer is actually discussed! The show talks about how many quadrillions of gallons of water were held within the aquifer and that trillions of gallons were being used each day as things stand now. This vast amount of water is mostly being used in order to water crops in Texas and up through the Midwest. Would a plan like Pickens' even affect things? In the show they also demonstrate how crops can be irrigated with pumped river water. Perhaps in addition to desalination and/or a water sewage treatment plant, river water could be utilized and treated as well. Perhaps Pickens' plan could be used to a small extent, but the aquifer must be preserved as much as possible.

I believe that cities that are experiencing water supply issues should explore their options and possibly use a combination of a few of these options. In this way moderation will be exercised and no one water source will be seriously threatened or depleted.

Pictured here is a desalination plant in Australia taken from$file/Perth+desal+plant+image.jpg.

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