Every now and then a leaky-brain idea opens its thirsty mouth from western states that want Missouri River water. The latest idea is to build a 670-mile pipeline to take water from the Missouri River and send it west to seven states. The states that want Missouri River water are Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
A federal study in which western states provided cooperation said the cost would be $11.2 billion and would take 30 years to complete. A Bureau of Reclamation spokesman said the pipeline idea is in the very early stages, a distance from reality.
You bet there would be opposition to any plan that would divert water from the already abused Missouri River, especially because of the river’s low stages due to droughts and competition for water resources. In the lower river basin, we already suffer from extremely low stages due to the holding of water in the upstream reservoirs, which are used mostly for recreation. Then when we have high water stages, water is released from near overflowing reservoirs, adding to the already flooded conditions.
One justification heard for sending our water west is that the western states have growing populations, developments and people need more water. Can we afford less water?
States along the Mississippi River want more water from the Missouri River because of its low stages that are hurting barge traffic.
The plan notes that water wouldn’t be diverted during droughts. If there’s a pipeline, water will flow through it. You can bet on that.
The proposal calls for a large treatment plant near Leavenworth, Kan., and there would be a series of pumps to move the water. It would be built adjacent to Interstate 70. The pipeline would serve 1.2 million households. The cost-benefit ratio is not that impressive.
As long as there is a Missouri River, its water will have appeal to other states. What about Missourians? They would be the victims if our water is taken from us.