Sunday, May 22, 2016

Glen Canyon- Long Term Losses and Short Term Gains

The New York Times has a story today about the Glen Canyon dam, erected in the West in 1963:

"When Glen Canyon Dam was built in the middle of the last century, giant dam projects promised to elevate the American West above its greatest handicap — a perennial shortage of water. These monolithic wonders of engineering would bring wild rivers to heel, produce cheap, clean power and stockpile water necessary to grow a thriving economy in the desert. And because they were often remotely located, they were rarely questioned. 

But today, there are signs that the promise of this great dam and others has run its course.
Climate change is fundamentally altering the environment, making the West hotter and drier. There is less water to store, and few remaining good sites for new dams. 

Many of the West’s big dams, meanwhile, have proved far less efficient and effective than their champions had hoped. They have altered ecosystems and disrupted fisheries. They have left taxpayers saddled with debt..."

Fifty years of failed expectations.  And what did we trade for that water:




 We drowned this treasure in a short sighted and cynical effort to (in the end) preserve the possibility of a few decades' commercial exploitation of the West.  Even if the dam were to be destroyed today, none of us, nor our children, nor our grandchildren, nor our great grandchildren will ever see the beauty that existed before 1963.

"And yet even as these consequences come into focus, four states on the Colorado River are developing plans to build new dams and river diversions in an effort to seize a larger share of dwindling water supplies for themselves before that water flows downstream."

They never learn.  If only we could find a way to see that they alone suffered for their greed, it would be fine.  But of course, they see to it that we pick up the tab, both economically, and in the loss of every precious thing that they can turn into a quick profit.

2 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

This is what we will continue to get as long as we have a government of big business, by big business, and for big business instead of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Poll P. said...

Jeezus H. Kriste!