It’s all about water.
The U.S. is the elephant in the room in global food production; by far the biggest volume of international trade in food originates there, and food export is an important part of their economy. Or it was before a huge amount of food corn was diverted into fuel alcohol by government edict.
Irrigation water is the limit -– every sizable river has dams to allow water to be taken for irrigation purposes, and they are using and reusing all they have. They have lots of dry-land and desert which could be irrigated, and Mexico and many other places have lots more, so the limit on world food production is not land, but irrigation water.
The other elephant in the room is that the US is running out of water, and it will be a crisis which must be addressed within the next 40 years. A big part of the problem is the Ogallala reservoir. A big swath of the American mid-west is underlain by a huge bed of gravel, running from Montana to Texas, and variable width between. This gravel deposit is full of water, and this is the Ogallala reservoir. Wells into this reservoir provide water for a large number of towns and cities, and big areas of land are irrigated with well water from this natural reservoir. The level of water in the gravel bed has been falling steadily for decades, and it is now below half its original level. This water is glacier water, left over from the last ice age, and is not being replaced.
So the breadbasket for the world is living on mined fossil water. Total depletion of this reservoir cannot be allowed to happen – the cost to the US and loss of reserve world food supply will not be tolerated. Nothing substantial seems to be being done to preserve or replace it, and this impending disaster is not talked about at all; it seems to be a taboo subject. Is there a plan? Yes, there is.
Canada has some 40% of all the fresh water in the WORLD, and by far the majority of fresh water allowed to go to the sea unused (some would say wasted) is Canadian. Back in 1964, an American think tank came up with a plan which they dubbed ‘NAWAPA, the North American Water and Power Alliance’. This is a huge scheme to divert rivers across northern Canada and Alaska to the mainland US and Mexico. This drew international attention to a Canadian scheme called the ‘Grand Canal’, which involved turning James Bay into a freshwater lake, and diverting all the northern rivers now going into Hudson’s Bay into this lake. It would drain south to Lake Huron, from where it would be available to much of the U.S., including the Ogallala area. Readers interested in these studiously unpublicized schemes just need to google NAWAPA or Grand Canal and you could spend the day reading about it. For a reader’s digest version, just go to www.canspiracy.8m.com/article5.htm , especially as it relates to rivers running into Hudson’s Bay. If you are a bear for punishment, there is a big book titled ‘The Great Lakes Water Wars’.
There is no apparent benefit to Canada and especially Northern or Northwestern Ontario from these schemes, other than construction dollars. Fifty years ago there was a considerable concern here that this would limit our future by preventing development of the north, also some work needed to be done to prove that taking that much fresh water out of Hudson’s Bay would not affect wildlife or climate.
Perhaps that is why these schemes disappeared from the popular press, and are not talked about, ever, and most Canadians have not even heard of them. Perhaps the Observer will be visited by a Man in Black as a result of this column. Perhaps I will. I will keep you posted.