Audio Experiment: Talking Groundwater

OK, here’s another little experiment. I spent part of the last 10 days or so taking a little bit of a crash course in California groundwater for a radio feature. The feature’s done, but I still need to do a web post for program I did the story for (“America Abroad,” distributed by Public Radio International). I’ve had a hard time sitting down and writing again after crashing for the radio deadline, so I decided to just record some of the stuff I’ve packed into my brain on this topic. The result is what might pass for a podcast, though I’m not betting that the world is waiting for 30 minutes of talk on a resource that’s mostly invisible.

2 Replies to “Audio Experiment: Talking Groundwater”

  1. Very informative, Dan. I’m sure this has been thought of, but I wonder if some engineering student has figured out how to get water from the Great Lakes to California. I see a pipeline that follows I-80. Of course, I can hear the collective screams of NO from the Midwest. But, we are talking about the food we eat here. As opposed to food we grow back here that gets used to make motor fuel, plastics, etc. (Which doesn’t even get watered other than from rain.) We can deal with the politics later.

  2. Hey, Marie: You know, I think the idea of moving water out of the Great Lakes for all the thirsty lands to the west has been discussed. It seems ridiculous at first — look how far you’d have to ship the water (and the mountains you’d have to cross. But then you look at how determined the engineers have been and the feats they’ve already achieved (to get water to the Los Angeles area, the State Water Project pumps it to an elevation of over 3,000 feet), and you think — well, with enough time and money and persistence, almost anything could happen. There have also been schemes to bring water into California from the Columbia River system, or even from the Mackenzie River in arctic Canada. But here’s a problem: No one wants to give up the water they have. Illinois’s neighbor on the Great Lakes went to court in the early 20th century because the state was sucking so much water down the Illinois River system that it was causing lake levels to drop and causing concern about the long-term future of the entire region (the state and city of Chicago still operate under a U.S. Supreme Court order from the 1920s that limits how much water can flow out of Lake Michigan through the rivers).

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