Water Management

Posted by Mac McGarity on Sunday, December 4th, 2016

American National Water Management Program

With the approaching Trump presidency/administration and it’s interest in an effective infrastructure initiative, I would like to take the opportunity to nominate a candidate for consideration. In response to Steve Anderson’s call for robust advocacy, InfrastructureUSA appears to be an appropriate venue and forum for this.

My suggestion is what I’ll call the American National Water Management Program. I’ve not found any similar planned or ongoing national infrastructure effort in existance, nor included in your own list of catagories. It’s a relatively simple concept, so I find it difficult to believe I’m presenting something highly original, but I do believe it’s time has come.

Briefly, this would involve the creation of a national network of reservoirs and interconnecting waterways. This network would include and incorporate existing elements such as lakes, reservoirs, canals, aquaducts, dams, levees, pipelines, etc. A new key addition would be high volume pumping stations at likely flood locations and required lift areas.

The overarching rationale for this initiative is that flooding is a serious, but an almost regular and predicable annual disaster(s), causing loss of life, property loss/damage, and economic disruption; and that droughts are easily identified and cause extensive agricultural crises, increased probability of widespread wild fires, and threaten drinking water supplies for people and livestock.

Success of the system depends on strategic prioritization of locating the pumping stations to remove or reducing the rising waters in chronic flood areas, such as the upper Mississippi/Missouri/Ohio River Valleys and move it to where it is actually needed, simultaneously eliminating or significantly mitigating two national disaster phenomenoa.

This not a high tech task, though it would require a massive civil engineering effort, including detailed topographic data, which certainly exists, and enormous construction resources, and a few jobs. A well designed, constructed, and operated national water management system won’t eliminate hurricanes, el nino, fickle weather patterns, acquafir depletion, mudslides, etc., but it would go a long way toward solving our water-related woes.

I have no idea what the price tag for this program would be, and I understand it would have to compete for funding against other worthy infrastructure projects, such as our electric grid, roads, bridges, airport facilities, etc., but one with great value. It would no doubt be an expensive, multi-year funded and executed program. Maybe doable. I hope so. Let’s talk about it.

William D. McGarity
Lexington Park, Maryland

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