From the Engineering Viewpoint: Taming the “Old Man River” Is Now Feasible

by Bobby Reyes

Mississippi River | Photo by Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons

Part XVIII of the “EDEN America” Series

From the engineering viewpoint, taming the “Old Man River” is feasible. And in cleaning its water and pumping it to some of the most extensive aquifers in the United States that are drying up for lack of replenishment from Mother Nature. All it takes is for the people of the states that contribute water to it to develop a political will to pressure their local-and-states officials and the federal government to agree on a plan. Yes, as suggested in this series.

“There is so much to consider along this great American waterway as it courses through 10 states—Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.” American policy and decision-makers must act soon. Climate Change is compounding the depletion of the aquifer waters in many states due to increasing use brought about by population growth and the increasing needs of businesses and industries.

The “Old Man River” actually gets its waters from river tributaries of 31 states. (Some reference sites say “from 33 states”.) Water from parts or all of 31 (or 33) states and their river tributaries drains into the Mississippi River. It creates a drainage basin over 1,245,000 square miles in size. Therefore, the people in the said states need to become stakeholders of the proposed “taming of the Mississippi River.” More data are available at The Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) | US EPA. It is public knowledge that the Mississippi River rises in Lake Itasca in Minnesota and ends in the Gulf of Mexico, where its water becomes part of the ocean. It covers a total distance of 2,340 miles (3,766 kilometers) from its source. The Mississippi River is the longest in North America.

“Taming the waters of the Mississippi River should also mitigate the nearly-annual flooding of low-lying areas caused by weather disturbances attributed to Climate Change. Almost all the river tributaries in the Mississippi River are swamped by excessive rainfall, compounded by melting snow during springtime.”

There are so many studies about the waters of the Mississippi River. One of the position papers is in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (MAP): Water Use and Availability Program.

We present at the Philippine Daily Mirror back-to-basics medium-to-long term proposals in addressing the needs of the Continental United States, specifically in replenishing the aquifers and aqueducts. Because time is running out due to Global Warming, this series emphasizes using the waters of the Mississippi River that drain into the Gulf of Mexico for better use. Like pumping them — after it generated electricity utilizing mini-hydropower plants and cleaned — to states that need to replenish their aquifers. The bottom line is to provide more water for drinking, household needs, irrigation, and industrial uses.

Taming the waters of the Mississippi River should also mitigate the nearly-annual flooding of low-lying areas caused by weather disturbances attributed to Climate Change. Almost all the river tributaries in the Mississippi River are swamped by excessive rainfall, compounded by melting snow during springtime.

And as discussed earlier, create so-many downstream projects that are viable and easily funded — if done as Public-Private Partnerships.

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1 comment

Roberto M. Reyes November 24, 2021 - 2:49 am

This is my 79th article posted in “The Straphanger” column since a year ago this very day. So far, this present series has 18 parts (and counting). The previous series called the “ReVOTElution of H.O.P.E.” had 25 articles. And previous to it was a series on the “Filipino Melting Pot” with 20 parts. I wrote also a 9-part series on the suggested “Biden Back-to-Basics Doctrine.” And a 5-part series about the U.S.-Mexican Border and the “Pueblo Filipino” project in Colima Province of Mexico. And I had been paraphrasing President Ronald Reagan’s words, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

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