Letter To The Editor: Water Pipeline
Note: the following letter was sent to U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and shared with The Waterways Journal.
The Olmsted Locks and Dam between Paducah, Ky., and Cairo, Ill., will be completed this year. This will be the last lock and dam in the lower Ohio River before the water flows into the Mississippi River. As we all know, many western states are suffering from a severe shortage of water. This has impacted not only the human population but the states’ agricultural production. The point where the Ohio River flows into the Mississippi River represents 50 percent of the volume of the Mississippi River. We could run a pipeline from behind the Olmsted Dam with a pump powered by water created by the dam. This pipe would then cross the Mississippi River and proceed west to the thirsty states and could, of course, go all the way to California. This pipeline would be filled with water that is currently wasted by being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico and provides no useful purpose. Taking the water from behind the dam would give you a sediment-free water as the sediment will settle out in the still water.
This idea occurred to me from looking at the three 46-inch-diameter gas pipelines that are being built to transport the natural gas from West Virginia’s Marcellus Shale south to several states. This gas, of course, will be paid for by the various companies involved in the three pipelines.
The same thing can occur on the water pipeline from the Olmsted Dam as it is pumped to the West. Simply develop a percentage of the water in the Ohio River from each of the adjacent states and this applicable percentage would be paid for by the federal government to the states bordering the Ohio River.
This is a large project but it would be a great project for the idea to come from the state of West Virginia.
Charles T. Jones
President and CEO,