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 Post subject: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 24, 2014 6:17 pm 
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Let's forget about using LFTRs or HTGCRs to save the earth from global warming for a bit.

Do you eat? Do you want hard working farmers to be able to continue to produce food at a high level?

The Ogallala aquifer is an example of men using a resource faster than nature can restore the resource. This is a huge aquifer in the South Central that has been used by farmers for decades. Here's a paragraph from Wikepedia:

Withdrawals from the Ogallala Aquifer for irrigation amounted to 26 km3 (21,000,000 acre·ft) in 2000. As of 2005, the total depletion since pre-development amounted to 253,000,000 acre feet (312 km3).[6] Some estimates indicate the remaining volume could be depleted as soon as 2028. Many farmers in the Texas High Plains, which rely particularly on the underground source, are now turning away from irrigated agriculture as they become aware of the hazards of overpumping.[7]

Here's the link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer

Now for the crazy idea.

Could nukes be used to desalinate water from the Gulf of Mexico, pump this water back to the aquifer and into the ground? If this could be done, there would be a breadbasket that would last forever. Sure it's expensive, but the payback is forever.


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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 24, 2014 6:25 pm 
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Eino wrote:
Let's forget about using LFTRs or HTGCRs to save the earth from global warming for a bit.

Do you eat? Do you want hard working farmers to be able to continue to produce food at a high level?

The Ogallala aquifer is an example of men using a resource faster than nature can restore the resource. This is a huge aquifer in the South Central that has been used by farmers for decades. Here's a paragraph from Wikepedia:

Withdrawals from the Ogallala Aquifer for irrigation amounted to 26 km3 (21,000,000 acre·ft) in 2000. As of 2005, the total depletion since pre-development amounted to 253,000,000 acre feet (312 km3).[6] Some estimates indicate the remaining volume could be depleted as soon as 2028. Many farmers in the Texas High Plains, which rely particularly on the underground source, are now turning away from irrigated agriculture as they become aware of the hazards of overpumping.[7]

Here's the link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer

Now for the crazy idea.

Could nukes be used to desalinate water from the Gulf of Mexico, pump this water back to the aquifer and into the ground? If this could be done, there would be a breadbasket that would last forever. Sure it's expensive, but the payback is forever.



If you can pump oil out of a well (or water for that matter), you can pump water into it too. Why is that crazy? The Aquifer is just a natural storage place for the desal water...

But if you wanted to really get people on board you should bring up the threat of sink holes from depleted aquifers. Don't want to fall into a gaping chasm suddenly? Then stop being a NIMBY, become a YIMBY and support nuclear desal.


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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 24, 2014 7:36 pm 
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Desalination plants are already working round the world
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination
Nuclear energy is just another energy source requiring very little fuel.


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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 25, 2014 11:34 am 
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Create a Federally sanctioned "Commonwealth Corporation" that owns the aquifer and have it charge farmers for water extracted, just enough to build enough LFTRs to replenish it and to pay benefits to the CC contributers.

Allow folks to switch their FICA taxes into the Commonwealth Corporation.

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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 25, 2014 11:43 am 
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Location: Newport Beach, CA
KitemanSA wrote:
Create a Federally sanctioned "Commonwealth Corporation" that owns the aquifer and have it charge farmers for water extracted, just enough to build enough LFTRs to replenish it and to pay benefits to the CC contributers.

Allow folks to switch their FICA taxes into the Commonwealth Corporation.


Kansas and Nebraska strike me as the kind of reasonable states that might try something like this.


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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 25, 2014 11:45 am 
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Cthorm wrote:
KitemanSA wrote:
Create a Federally sanctioned "Commonwealth Corporation" that owns the aquifer and have it charge farmers for water extracted, just enough to build enough LFTRs to replenish it and to pay benefits to the CC contributers.

Allow folks to switch their FICA taxes into the Commonwealth Corporation.


Kansas and Nebraska strike me as the kind of reasonable states that might try something like this.
But they don't control FICA.

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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 27, 2014 2:07 am 
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This would be attractive if the aquifer was one connected basin, but it does not seems so, see this map. However I am no geologist, so please correct me.


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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 27, 2014 7:05 am 
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ondrejch wrote:
This would be attractive if the aquifer was one connected basin, but it does not seems so, see this map. However I am no geologist, so please correct me.
Looks like one interconnected aquifer to me. I see no disconnected grey regions. There are holes in it, but no outliers.

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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 27, 2014 7:31 am 
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Water rights belong to the states. Want to start a civil.war? Start having the feds try taking the natural water away from farmers.

If you need to generate water why put into the ground? Use it directly on the crops as needed. Even LFTR produced water will not be free.


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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 27, 2014 11:03 am 
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What is the recovery efficiency for this scheme?

If you pump down 1 liter of potable water and only get to recover half a liter back, then that is not going to make sense.

If the recovery efficiency is good, and if the cost is reasonable, and if some ancillary benefits are gained from injection (like filtering action improving the water quality) then this scheme could make sense. I rather doubt it, though. Desal water is expensive. Farmers are not going to pay 10-100x as much for their water, even if they wanted to. They'd couldn't compete in the bigger market.


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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 27, 2014 12:32 pm 
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Cyril R wrote:
What is the recovery efficiency for this scheme?

If you pump down 1 liter of potable water and only get to recover half a liter back, then that is not going to make sense.
When aquifers are depleted whole swaths of grassland and forest can become deserts because the plants can no longer reach the water. Perhaps 10% return is acceptable if there are other benefits.

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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 27, 2014 1:27 pm 
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KitemanSA wrote:
Cyril R wrote:
What is the recovery efficiency for this scheme?

If you pump down 1 liter of potable water and only get to recover half a liter back, then that is not going to make sense.
When aquifers are depleted whole swaths of grassland and forest can become deserts because the plants can no longer reach the water. Perhaps 10% return is acceptable if there are other benefits.


Ya. But don't you agree, that desalinating water and feeding it to a shallow aquifer to feed entire forests, is a bit heroic? As in, not very realisitic and resource wise?

I don't believe desal water injection will be economical. Far better to turn off the tap - most of the agriculture water use is horribly wasteful. Open air spray water etc. Use of drip irrigation and the like can make a big difference, at a much more reasonable cost than desal water injection into the aquifer.


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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 27, 2014 10:09 pm 
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Cyril R wrote:
KitemanSA wrote:
Cyril R wrote:
What is the recovery efficiency for this scheme?

If you pump down 1 liter of potable water and only get to recover half a liter back, then that is not going to make sense.
When aquifers are depleted whole swaths of grassland and forest can become deserts because the plants can no longer reach the water. Perhaps 10% return is acceptable if there are other benefits.


Ya. But don't you agree, that desalinating water and feeding it to a shallow aquifer to feed entire forests, is a bit heroic? As in, not very realisitic and resource wise?

I don't believe desal water injection will be economical. Far better to turn off the tap - most of the agriculture water use is horribly wasteful. Open air spray water etc. Use of drip irrigation and the like can make a big difference, at a much more reasonable cost than desal water injection into the aquifer.
As long as there is no cost to it there is no urge to economize. Do as I originally suggested and the drip irrigation you suggest becomes more likely.

Hmmm. Would I waste $ to desal to prevent another dust-bowl... Good question.

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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 28, 2014 5:13 pm 
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"Hmmm. Would I waste $ to desal to prevent another dust-bowl... Good question."

Is it a waste to restore what nature put there in the first place?

You're not simply comparing water conservation vs irrigation. Right now, those farmers may need to shift to dry land farming. This could mean a crop every other year. Having water could also mean different kinds of crops could be grown that have higher value. The yields will be much higher.

As lands fed from the melting snows of the mountains may be no more as glaciers melt away forever, irrigation such as this could replace the food that can no longer be grown. It may do as Norman Borglaug did and save millions from starvation.

The water will have to be lifted a long way. I see 2,000 ft above sea level. The water will need to be moved a great distance. At least a 1,000 miles. Lots of pipe and lots of pumping.

Would the LFTRs drive steam driven pumps? Would there be a series of reservoirs along the way? Could this create recreation opportunities as behind a dam?

You couldn't do this with one big reactor. How many would you need? Would the water / power / heat create other opportunities along the way? Cheap electricity & clean water are a great resource.

What route would be acceptable?

Is this truly a pipe dream?


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 Post subject: Re: Ogallala Aquifer
PostPosted: Apr 29, 2014 3:14 am 
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Eino wrote:
Here's the link.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer
Now for the crazy idea.
Could nukes be used to desalinate water from the Gulf of Mexico, pump this water back to the aquifer and into the ground? If this could be done, there would be a breadbasket that would last forever. Sure it's expensive, but the payback is forever.

To say that the idea is expensive is an understatement.
Most of the area covered is 500-800m above the sea level and thousands of km from the gulf of Mexico. It might be more useful to have soil and water conservation structures in the area itself and increase the percolation of water and decrease the losses to evaporation and flow out.
A pipeline parallel to the Keystone oil pipeline to bring surplus water from Canada may also be more useful.
Desalination may be useful close to the coast but bringing it to mid-continent may be too ambitious.
Let the nuclear energy first provide steam to soften the bitumen for extraction.


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