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View Diary: Drought and Low Water: The Mississippi May Be Unnavigable Within Weeks (191 comments)

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  •  Low water (5+ / 0-)

    You are correct about everything you say, but doesn't traffic stop on the rivers every year when they freeze. Granted it is way more expensive, but don't they face this problem every winter? By the way, I used to work in a power plant and without water there is no power. Not just for boiler feedwater, but all massive amounts are needed for cooling towers and condensers.

    •  Freeze over? Not the lower Mississippi (8+ / 0-)

      Way too much water movement (and barge traffic) to freeze over in winter.  The St Louis lock system sounds like the biggest problem area though.  

      •  Low water (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        glorificus, LilithGardener, SadieSue

        If the Missisippi has low water nothing gets south. The upper river and the waters flowing into it freeze every year. The port  of Duluth shut down every year when the lake freezes over. I'm not saying it's not a problem, but if it happens every year they must have plans in place to deal with it. Long term, yeah it's a huge problem if it happens for longer periods of time through the year.

        •  The entire River doesn't freeze over. It takes (7+ / 0-)

          time for the upper river to freeze over.  It won't be until January before it's had a chance to freeze over.  Depending upon where the freezing is taking place and how deep the freeze, there are ice breakers that will force parts of the river open.  In Iowa with the lock and dams, it'll just shut down for around a month.  There's just too much water moving.

          The difference is that the freeze is a known thing.  They have a reasonable idea of how long the sections of river will be frozen over.  With the drought, there's no clue as to how long it'll last.  Law suits are starting over using dams to hold back water for places upriver instead of just sending it all down.  This law suit is about the Army Corps of Engineers closing the dam on the Missouri somewhere in SD and limiting water going down into the Mississippi.

          The irony is that the Missouri was severely flooded in 2011.  Talk about going from one extreme to the other.

    •  Yes most power plants do use lots of water (14+ / 0-)

      That's why we need to go for solar and wind in a big way, ASAP.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:38:14 AM PST

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      •  Except we have this problem called Base Load (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, 6412093

        Solar and wind cannot overcome this.  Folks that live "off the grid" can explain the sacrifices they make better than I can, but solar and wind are not stable, 24 hours a day, sources of electricity for an industialized society, no matter how much we wish it to be so.  Stable voltage/frequency on a wide area grid, under varying loads, is not as easy to maintain as you might think.

        •  They can be (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener, SadieSue

          over a wide enough area. IE, a windmill over your house will not run 24x7 but thousands of windmills across the US certainly can be expected to.

          In addition, solar and wind can be used to create various kinds of 'batteries' - not the conventional sort, but for example pumping water uphill when there is surplus power, and then letting it flow through a turbine when power is needed.

          Solar thermal plants concentrate sunlight on vats of liquid that boil water to create electricity. By filling your vat with some fluid other than water, you can create and store enough heat to continue generating power through the night.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:32:32 AM PST

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          •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

            We can also use current and tidal forces to generate electricity.

            There are many ways to store the energy, depending on the terrain and available resources.

            Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

            by splashy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 03:37:51 AM PST

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        •  Base load ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CA wildwoman

          Where have I heard that before?

          Oh, yeah, from people that want to push things like nukes.

          That can be solved, and has been, with a large area of alternatives, current and tidal power generation, along with storage  in many different ways.

          We have the technology, we just need to do it.

          Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

          by splashy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 03:36:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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