Lotsa Water

Driving out the coast, I had the privilege of driving for the better part of a day alongside the Columbia River. Driving back, the river was just as wide and just as long. What an enormous amount of water, flowing steadily to the sea. And, making this even more fun, we were doing pretty much all of the driving through brown and arid land, and I kept wondering to myself — where could all this water being coming from? Runoff from the mountains certainly adds up.

On a related matter, the beach house where we were staying had a shower head that was made the way shower heads ought still to be made — you know, the kind that delivers about ten gallons of hot water every minute, and keeps trying to knock you down. Why don’t we do this anymore? We have the technology. Why, we don’t do this because we think we live on a planet that is running out of water. As I write these words, I can glance off to the right, just slightly, and take a gander at the Pacific Ocean.

In my hometown of Moscow, the local liberals are all in a doodah about the aquifer beneath us running clean out. And so they are proposing all the usual nonsense. Man’s use of water around us is not draining off this valuable resource. If you took all the water rights in all the states that feed the Columbia, that amount of water would be less than the margin of error for the water that flows through The Dalles (one of the dams on the Columbia).

As an afterthought, how can the panic over us running out of water be reconciled with the panic over global warming?

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