A Texas Sized Water Balloon

to solve the world's water problems

Admit it, water is a problem. Forecast to be the cause of many future wars, there are places (and times) that have more than plenty of it, and others that don't have enough. And people will pay, or fight, or even die, for water, which gives life after all.

What is the appropriate scale to think about this problem? It's not that there isn't plenty of water out there. But there are plenty of places that don't seem to have enough.

So consider how to get the plenty of rainwater, that the planet has, to the plenty of water-needy places, that the planet has elsewhere.

Today we use the mountains themselves as storage devices, locking gazillions of acre-feet behind outflow-blocking concrete dams.

In the future we could use the sea itself for water storage, with man-made materials keeping out salt and storm, deep underwater below the waves. We merely await progress in materials science and oceanic public works engineering to solve the tank and transport problems at scale.

Rainwater capture on a grand scale would solve the desert cities' water supply problem: capture the outflow of freshwater rivers especially during the periods of huge winter flows, storing a season's flow in underwater expanding storage facilities, perhaps in giant underwater water balloons, held down at the bottom of the sea and pumped in and out along continental-scale pipelines. Such systems could water

No wars need be fought over water, nor farmers or desert dwellers lose livelihood or even comfort due to its lack, if we could just build suitable, seasonal, underwater storage systems.

Can we make some practical progress on this? You can imagine, it would indeed change the world toward being a garden paradise!

So I've thought about it a bit, and here are my technical suggestions.

Can we propose an at least imaginably practical design today? Maybe not a texas-sized water balloon, but an enormous water balloon held deep in the ocean, intermittently fed by enormous seasonal flows and connected to a pumped pipeline to its target recipients. What might that look like? Okay, enough said. Even though it's rather crazy, it's not quite entirely crazy, and I hope I have persuaded you at least that much in this short conceptual essay. If so it follows that our society SHOULD find a way to fund a few people to work on it so that if it pans out in the future, we all win big. Imagine peace in the Middle East; Indian farmers saved from drought; and the Eastern Sierra Nevada green again. That's how entrepreneurial societies win; they try a lot of stuff, in hopes a few things have big payoffs, which they tend to do. A few engineer-years or -decades would be a tiny investment to enable a huge payoff like a potential doubling of the California megalopolis.

So this is certainly worth a try. Contribute your special contribution! Encourage! Pass it on!

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Modified: February 8, 2022.