Moving water from one place to another….

There is a ‘new’ idea to move the water in the icebergs to the places in the world without enough water.  This is not a new idea, I’ve heard it floated around a few times before.  But this article over at GOOd discusses and actual plan for it — or at least a potential plan of action that might actually work.

The problem with this plan (or problems) is that it doesn’t think about things outside of dragging ice from one part of the world to another.  Ice/water is heavy — the energy/fossil fuel cost of dragging the icebergs is considerable.  I have heard plans in the past where the idea is to drag the freshwater in huge sealed bags under the water, making it like dragging pockets of freshwater under the ocean.  I do not see how this could possibly work without popping, but apparently it could.

Furthermore, this is just not the solution.  The idea of piping water from Alaska to California and the Colorado River basin has been floated in the United States.  It is the same situation and solution — water is running out and the answer is not to change habits or industry or come up with ways to clean polluted water, but to simply import it.  This smacks of US environmental policy, which basically says we can invent our way out of environmental damage.

The thing is that you can’t do that.  It doesn’t make the problem go away, it just hides it.  For tens of thousands of years, this planet has had enough water without people having to come up with ways to drag icebergs around.  Granted there are more people living in more parts of the world, but there should be enough water to go around if we are careful with it.  Water scarcity has to do with a changing climate and horrible consumption habits.  These are things we can change without engineering elaborate plans like this one.

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