Watering Our Deserts

Discussion in 'Energy & Fuel' started by Craig Wilson, May 7, 2019.

  1. Craig Wilson

    Craig Wilson Greeter
    Staff Member Greeter Task Force Registered

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    5,647
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    I suspect most of the members here live in the US. So how did you manage to build cities out of deserts? My country Australia would like the answer as we have one of the driest and hottest interiors on the planet. Very little grows in what we call the Red Centre. Every year we experience crippling floods from the wet season in the north to devastating dry spells in the centre that kill livestock and the livelihoods of the man on the land. Whether it is climate change or not is debatable but my country is having our longest dry spell on record. Once gushing rivers are parched river beds.. once full farm dams are empty.. once thriving crops are withering and dying. Our politicians are doing very little other than procrastinating over the problem. The reason I asked how you built cities in deserts is because we need to do the same to break the dry spells first and open up our vast interior to population growth. A wise man called Dr John Bradfield proposed a solution to this crippling problem back in the late 1930s. His idea was to divert waters from the drenched Top End of our continent into the parched interior. A visionary proposal but not rocket science. Did the the powers to be of the day accept his vision ..no they ridiculed it and refused to implement it. Seventy something years on and the Bradfield Scheme is just that an unfulfilled idea. It is time to revisit the this man's vision before it is too late for our farms and our country.
     
    #1
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  2. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    8,707
    Likes Received:
    9,353
    @Craig Swanson Most interesting observations, as well as questions. Given that Australia must have mountainous regions on which falls precipitation in the form of snow, that huge store of water can and must be used, or it will be wasted. Only the very highest elevations retain ice all year round. I myself have lived in the Desert Southwest a total of 32 of my 76 years, so believe I know a bit about "what's going on". Currently, my wife and I live only 2 miles from the Colorado River, one of the first of America's large rivers to be dammed and controlled.

    Hoover Dam, completed in the 1930s, formed the enormous Lake Mead. Upstream of that, above the Grand Canyon, a second huge dam, Glen Canyon Dam, was completed in the early 1960s, forming a second immense lake, Lake Powell. Make no mistake, Lake Mead, shoreline 550 miles, and Lake Powell, 1200 miles, are enormous man-made reservoirs which provide the Desert with fresh water all year long.

    Have such efforts not been made in Australia? Here is an image of L. Mead:
    [​IMG]

    And, the dam which created it:
    [​IMG]
     
    #2
    Thomas Stearn and Craig Wilson like this.
  3. Craig Wilson

    Craig Wilson Greeter
    Staff Member Greeter Task Force Registered

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    5,647
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    Yes Frank we have the Snowy Mountain Hydro scheme. Unfortunately this is not used to irrigate our most arid regional areas mostly closer to the coast only ..Its main purpose is urban power generation
    upload_2019-5-8_14-22-6.jpeg upload_2019-5-8_14-22-46.jpeg
     
    #3
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
    Frank Sanoica likes this.
  4. Craig Wilson

    Craig Wilson Greeter
    Staff Member Greeter Task Force Registered

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    5,647
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    Much of our interior looks like this. We are talking about an area almost the size of western Europe.
    upload_2019-5-8_14-28-4.jpeg
     
    #4
    Bobby Cole likes this.
  5. Craig Wilson

    Craig Wilson Greeter
    Staff Member Greeter Task Force Registered

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    5,647
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    How was Vegas built for instance? That was part of a desert was it not?
     
    #5
    Frank Sanoica likes this.
  6. Craig Wilson

    Craig Wilson Greeter
    Staff Member Greeter Task Force Registered

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    5,647
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    That is what Australia needs.. a Colorado River. Very little grows.. including water in our Red Centre. The Bradfield Scheme proposed to divert water from the flooded Top End rivers by pipes, dams, tunnels many thousands of kms to the driest parts of our continent. . Some say by doing this we could become the worlds food basket. One of our politicians is proposing climate change policies at our upcoming Fed election of some $30b.. nothing unfortunately about implementing the Bradfield Scheme. Current estimates are the scheme will cost $15b upwards. Our present government continues to ignore it.. tho there is a groundswell of support emerging. We need public opinion to sway our recalcitrant politicians before it is too late.
     
    #6
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
    Frank Sanoica likes this.
  7. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    8,707
    Likes Received:
    9,353
    @Craig Swanson
    The images are breath-taking! The main "purpose" stated originally when Hoover Dam was being proposed, was "flood-control". Indeed, the Colorado River brimmed over rampantly as snow-melt appeared in the spring, inundating countless thousands of acres, then by early Fall, was down to a trickle. Indeed, the Colorado was a barrier to the hordes of folks attempting to reach California as the Gold Rush took place; there was no such thing as "bridges". Such migrations of people included many interested in capitalizing on the peripheral benefits: businesses, aiming to sell wares of both necessity and frivolity to the new-comers. Travel was timed to coincide with expected "low-water" of the Colorado. It has been recorded that the easiest crossing existed north of Yuma, Arizona, where the river broadened out to several miles wide.

    Hoover Dam was capitalized by a 50-year bond issue, expected to be paid for by sale of electric power. The dam itself, constructed by "bullet-proof" design, expected to withstand any seismological disturbances in the area, easily accomplished it's pay-off. In the mid-1980s, the bond issue was retired, and Hoover proved itself to be the shining example of government-supported but private-financed endeavor.

    Unprecedented valor and "guts" went into the job. Las Vegas, a small Mormon town then, but located on the main line of a major railroad, contributed heavily to Hoover's success. Indeed, a railroad spur line was constructed between Vegas and the dam site, which conveyed the very heaviest and unwieldy parts.

    I have only rarely commended our government.......but regarding Hoover Dam, I must concede the result is by far their best effort!

    Frank
     
    #7
    Thomas Stearn likes this.
  8. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
    Staff Member Senior Staff Greeter Task Force Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    10,279
    Likes Received:
    16,872
    The same thing happened in Washington, the central and eastern part are very dry and central Washington is basically a barren desert when left unirrigated.
    When Grand Coulee Dam was built, it provided the water for the whole state, as well as electricity for a large part of the country.

    After visiting Hawaii this spring with my daughter, I wanted to read James Michener’s epic book called “Hawaii”, which covers the islands from prehistoric times up until statehood.
    Apparently, they had the same problem on Oahu, because the rain drenched one side of he island and didn’t get over the mountains to the other side.
    According to the book, they dynamited their way through the mountain and made canals for the rain to flow through, and were able to irrigate and grow crops on the dry side, which actually became the main growing area for sugar cane and pineapples.
    So, the tunnel through the mountain that you are suggesting for Australia worked well in Hawaii, and it was done without all of our modern equipment and technology.

    Welcome to the forum, @Craig Swanson ! I think that we have only one other person here (@Kate Ellery ) who is from Australia, and I am looking forward hearing more about life Down Under .
     
    #8
    Frank Sanoica likes this.
  9. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Messages:
    5,514
    Likes Received:
    5,249
    Here is two ideas

    The second was my idea of putting solar panels ten feet up over part then use that power to desalinated ocean water and pump it back under the panels bring back life grow vegetables as you make enough money than expand it.
     
    #9
    Frank Sanoica likes this.
  10. Craig Wilson

    Craig Wilson Greeter
    Staff Member Greeter Task Force Registered

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    5,647
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    Correct Yvonne the proposal is to tunnel thru our Great Dividing Range from the east to our arid central west interior. All we hear from our major politicians are reasons not to get going on the project.. never "oh yes we must do this.. regardless of the cost". Back in 2010 the scheme was revisited but nothing came to fruition. The same old excuses were dragged out. I mentioned a groundswell of interest now emerging in the wake of the worst dry spell in our nation's history. Just read an article about a group of businessmen that want the rebirth of the Bradfield Scheme. Watch this space. Yvonne I am delited in your interest in my country. I am happy to answer any questions you wish. Please call me Craig.
     
    #10
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
    Yvonne Smith and Frank Sanoica like this.
  11. Ken N Louis

    Ken N Louis Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    533
    Check out Dubai...
    .

    .
     
    #11
  12. Craig Wilson

    Craig Wilson Greeter
    Staff Member Greeter Task Force Registered

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    5,647
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    Yeh. And here were we westerners thinking all Arabs live in tents in deserts. It is we that are still living in tents.
     
    #12
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
    Frank Sanoica likes this.
  13. Craig Wilson

    Craig Wilson Greeter
    Staff Member Greeter Task Force Registered

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    5,647
    Likes Received:
    5,697
    This is how United Arab Emirate neigbor Abu Dhabi gets its drinking water. Astounding!!

    From the largest desalinated water reserve in the world drawing water from 315 underground wells under the Liwa Desert (pic below).

    It holds 5.6 billion gallons (6.7 billion U.S. gallons, or 26 billion liters) of drinking water, enough to fill more than 10,000 Olympic swimming pools.

    In an emergency, it can provide one million people with 180 liters per person every day for three months..

    The project cost $435 million, and will act as a reserve for the whole of the UAE. Abu Dhabi hopes it will become the global benchmark for managing water in desert regions.

    Taking note Australian politicians. We have one of the worlds largest underground aquifers already.
    [​IMG]

     
    #13
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    Thomas Stearn and Nancy Hart like this.
  14. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    8,707
    Likes Received:
    9,353
    @Craig Swanson
    Somehow, I failed to address your question above. Sorry!

    Las Vegas, when I lived there in the early 1970s, received about a 50-50 mix of water between Lake Mead, and groundwater (wells). As the city grew, and the groundwater declined, more emphasis was placed on bringing water in from elsewhere. It was proposed that a pipeline be built to convey water from Central Nevada, specifically Railroad Valley, quite a long distance, which caused an immediate uproar from citizens of Northern Nevada. Not sure what means was employed to secure more water, as I left Vegas in 1977. Population when I moved there, 1972, 125,000; by 1977 it was about 158,000. It's population was predicted to reach 2 million by 2006, but this figure has not yet been attained. Bear in mind that Las Vegas itself is limited in area, surrounded by attached "townships" of their own, such as Winchester and Paradise, whose populations are not included in Vegas figures.

    Yes, it is Desert. Altitude about 2000 feet, annual precipitation about 6 inches. Third winter I lived there, we got 8 inches of snow overnight! Very unusual.

    Frank
     
    #14
    Craig Wilson likes this.

Share This Page