School: Taos High
Area of Science: Engineering
Interim: We plan on creating a computer model to simulate a pipeline from states with an abundance of water on the east coast to states that suffer from drought in the Midwest. The pipeline will be similar to ones that transfer oil but would be environmentally beneficial. Our project will ultimately present the feasibility of using a pipeline system to deliver water across the country to the areas that need it the most.
As the global population increases, there is less and less access to clean water resources globally. In 2015, 844 million people still lack a basic water service and among them almost 159 million people still collected drinking water directly from rivers, lakes and other surface water sources (2). This is not simply in third world countries, but right here in the United States as well. Many of the Southwestern and Western states specifically are suffering from historical drought. As of mid June 2001, 45 percent of New Mexico was in exceptional drought, the worst drought category possible and essentially a 25 to 50 year recurrence event (3). Water sources are lower than ever while demand has not lessened.
While these Southwestern and Western states are in drought, many other regions of the United States seem to be doing okay in regard to their access to water. While many Northeastern states have regulatory issues with water distribution, water is a plentiful resource in that region of the United States (4). In fact, many Americans do not have to think about conserving water in their everyday life the same way that others do. Finding a way to better distribute water sources across the United States would help to lessen the detrimental impact of drought in many western states. In addition, this redistribution could greatly benefit agriculture, as many products are grown in areas with little water available. Historically, the western half of the United States withdraws more water per day for irrigation than the eastern half, with the most irrigation-intensive counties withdrawing more than one billion gallons of water per day (5).
We propose building a pipeline to transport water across the United States. Already, the United States has the largest network of energy pipelines in the world, with more than 2.4 million miles of pipe. The network of crude oil pipelines in the U.S. is extensive. There are approximately 72,000 miles of crude oil lines (1), and a total of 192,396 miles of liquids pipeline operating across the United States (6). The pipeline network is so extensive because it is one of the most inexpensive means to transport crude oil and natural gas. On average, it costed less than five dollars per barrel to transport crude oil in 2014 (6). Therefore, it can be assumed that be assumed that it would cost relatively the same amount to transport water via pipeline.
Our computer model will project the actual estimated cost for transporting water this way. In addition, we plan on simulating/ mapping out the pipeline in out model. This would provide a good idea of the feasibility and benefit of constructing such a pipeline. Up to this point, we have researched other pipelines in the United States, and began to plan out the computer model for the project. We expect to create a proposal for this pipeline, using our computer model to show how it would work and estimate the cost of the project as well as the benefits.
Team Members: Kineo Memmer, Eben Bellas, and Jenay Barela
Sponsoring Teacher: Tracy Galligan
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