Arizona needs more water, but tapping rivers in other states is no way to do it

It seems like a win-win to divert floodwater from the Mississippi River and augment dwindling supplies on the Colorado River. But previous studies suggest it’ll take money and time that we don’t have, which is probably why no one other than Arizona Legislature is touting it./Photo: Mike Maple/Commercial Appeal

Opinion: Piping floodwater from the Mississippi River is a popular idea, but it’s probably just a pipe dream for Arizona. There are better ways to get water.

By Joanna Allhands | Arizona Republic

Every time I write about water, I get a similar email from different folks.

It argues that if we can build pipelines to move oil, we should be able to capture and pipe enough floodwater from the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Snake or (insert your river here) to resolve shortages on the Colorado River.

I appreciate the big thinking. But I wish we could move past this idea.

Related: As Lake Mead drops below shortage mark, shifting shorelines keep marinas in motion

Because we’ve studied this before, multiple times. Each solution has been projected to cost multiple billions of dollars. Most would not produce enough water to fix our problems. And trust me, someone’s going to fight several hundred miles of pipe being laid across their land to make this happen.

Even if we could somehow find the cash, we don’t have multiple decades to fight this out in court. And even then, we can’t risk the chance of it being canceled midstream, like the Keystone XL Pipeline was.

Letter to Congress looks wildly out of touch


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