Casey Handmer, big thinker, strikes again. He and I arrived at the same solution to the western US’s existential water problem (desal plus large scale PV), but Handmer has put some high-level numbers on the idea and added the refill the rivers twist. Back of the envelope, it all pans out. This should be the future.
The number that sticks with me is that we could solve the water problems of southern CO, AZ and CA with less capital than Elon Musk spent for fucking Twitter. That’s…amazing. And sad. Our national priorities are so screwed up.
Spend capital on gigascale PV and desal. Pump fresh water upstream and use the natural river systems and gravity to distribute the newly-created fresh water to all the places it needs to go; to the places it used to go. And mine the waste brine for badly-needed elements like lithium and rare earth elements. Genius. Think of the jobs these investments would produce. A generation’s worth of construction jobs, project management jobs, engineering jobs, safety and inspection jobs, legal and accounting jobs….on and on. And it doesn’t have to be a government program, for you let’s-drown-government-in-a-bathtub types – all this could be done by the private sector, with guaranteed rates of return on capital spent, just like we provide utilities.
I would join this project. I might even commute to the office to be a part of this.