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Texas and Water

Jaqui White, to whom we are deeply indebted for her work in preparation for the conference, lives in Port Isabel, at the mouth of the Rio Grande (or Bravo, as the Mexicans call it), the southernmost tip of Texas. She has often mentioned the droughts which hit the region and have created a constant problem between the US and Mexico over the division of the river water; a similar argument exists in the West over the division of the Colorado River. Jaqui, who spent years in Saudi Arabia, now reports:

"It is unbelievably hot here, it has not rained in about a year, and all the plants and trees are dead, the lakes are now dustbowls, and we are in a severe drought. In Houston, fifty minutes by plane, the flooding has been horrendous. All freeways and airports have been closed due to two or three feet of water. My daughter's apartment had two feet of water in it, and her new Jeep Cherokee, an SUV and quite high, had water up to the windows.

This flooding is the result of Allison, the first of our tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico. The interesting part of all this is that our storm season begins June first, and ends November thirtieth. Therefore, one week into the season we have devastation, with only five and one half months to go..."

My sympathetic comment: The Houston floods have been mentioned on TV all over the world, but little is said about the drought in the west of the state. It should be fairly simple to build pipelines or dig canals to provide for these emergencies. Will Jaqui tell us if this is planned or discussed? I am sure the plan would be greeted with howls by the Greens, who would accuse Texans of interfering with Mother Nature. They constantly protest against dams, misrepresenting the results of their construction. They have even talked about tearing down California dams, condemning the population to a great thirst. These are the same people who have blocked the construction of electric plants in California and tried to prevent the construction at Stantord of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Fortunately the county board of supervisors approved the project.

Throughout the dry world, notably in Brazil, dams are important for irrigation, navigation and as a source of electricity. The conference session on energy will provide an opportunity to discuss this issue. Meanwhile, Jaqui may well consider moving to a more benign climate. Every state in the union should try to attract her. She would add immensely to its human potential.

Ronald Hilton - 6/11/01