As California's four-year drought worsens and water supplies dwindle in the state, an old technology—railroads—could play a role in alleviating some water shortages.I don't see that working out. Pipeline, maybe. Train, I just can't believe would be cost effective. It would have seemed more cost-effective to prevent 50 million people from moving to the desert.
"We certainly have that capability today," said Mike Trevino, a spokesman for privately held BNSF Railway, which operates one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America. "We carry chlorine, for example. We carry liquefied commodities."
Experts say the East Coast's plentiful water could cost cents per gallon to Californians and provide a stable, potable water supply for small communities. Obstacles include identifying a state willing to share some of its water, and securing the construction funds for key infrastructure work, including terminals that can handle water.
"We've actually spent some time on this and some energy, and there's merit; there's value for railroads to play a role in moving water," said Ed McKechnie, chairman of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
Overall, McKechnie estimates it would cost upwards of $40 million to build the terminals needed to load and unload the water. He bases that figure on the investment for a similar facility to handle oil. McKechnie, who also serves as executive vice president for short-line railroad holding company Watco Companies, said the estimated cost of the water would depend on how much is spent on construction. "It wasn't dollars per gallon," he said. "It was in the cents range per gallon." Bulk water delivered by truck can run under 10 cents per gallon in parts of California's drought-parched Central Valley, but some of those supplies are at risk of drying up. The truck water tanks typically hold around 2,500 gallons, while each railroad tank car carries about 29,000 gallons, and sometimes more.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Another Crazy Drought Idea
Well Pete, some other people are considering your idea: