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Recharging Oglalla Aquifer

Dam the North America Great Lakes to recharge Oglalla
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The Great Lakes - so close to glory, yet so separated from their manifest destiny of saving Mid-Western USA agriculture amidst a burgeoning climate crisis. But there's a solution to the desertification due to occur to the irrigated agriculture of the Great Plains when the Oglalla aquifer is finally pumped dry. We can rebuild it. We have the technology. Instead of wasting the Great Lakes outflow on the already drenched areas of Eastern Canada, why, with a few mechanical adjustments; a dam or two here, a canal system there, from Chicago southwest to the Oglalla recharge areas, we can have our agriculture system intact, hydraulicly at least, despite destroying the climate stability enjoyed by us and our ancestors for ten thousand years.
briancady413, Jun 10 2012

why use fresh freshwater ? Coastal_20City_20Wastewater_20Relocation
[FlyingToaster, Jun 11 2012]

Don't drink the water http://www.epa.gov/...PA-905-R93-001.html
"...sediments have been contaminated with several heavy metals (e.g., cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc). Due to the level of PCB contamination in the fish, a "do not eat" fish advisory has been issued..." [Klaatu, Jun 15 2012]

Terraforming Water http://www.halfbake...aforming_3a_20Water
Take water from wet place, move it to dry place! [bungston, Jun 15 2012]

it covers an area of approximately 174,000 mi² (450,000 km²) in portions of the eight states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. http://en.wikipedia...ki/Ogallala_Aquifer
[normzone, Jun 17 2012]

NAWAPA https://en.wikipedi..._and_Power_Alliance
Surpringly, this was seriously considered in the 1950s and 60s. Diverting Alaskan rivers all the way to Mexico, replenishing the Ogalalla aquifer along the way [BunsenHoneydew, Jan 14 2022]


       Why, this concept is BRILLIANT!!
briancady413, Jun 10 2012

       Why, those lakes are GREAT!!
AusCan531, Jun 10 2012

       Erm, there's already a canal from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River, so there's Lakes water getting to St. Louis. Granted, part of the canal's name is "Sanitary" ...   

       There was also a heck of an uproar when something like this was suggested 20 years ago. Lakes diversion, I mean, not recharging the Oglala.   

       I'd say that if you want to do this, you'd want to tap into the western end of Superior and take your canal across the higher elevations, rather than have to pump everything uphill from, say, St. Lou.
baconbrain, Jun 10 2012

       After all, the Atlantic ocean doesn't need all that extra water; there's plenty of glacial melt from Greenland and the Arctic ice-cap to make up the shortfall.   

       What's not to like ?
8th of 7, Jun 10 2012

       Yes, when the lakes overflow and cover the plains with 6 inches of water, that will certainly irrigate the region.
sqeaketh the wheel, Jun 11 2012

       Dunno how much you're planning to pump out, but I'm not sure the people alongside all the Lakes and rivers in between are going to appreciate the lack-of-water-level. [marked-for-environmental study]... and it'd mean pollution control measures would have to be upgraded again to maintain the same amount of cleanliness. [ ]   

       but [-] cuzza the smartass first anno.
FlyingToaster, Jun 11 2012

       Hah. You can just crowd-source this one, all it needs is some hose pipes.   

       1) Everyone on the great plains attaches their pipe to a tap, and then put the other end next to an aquifer bore hole.   

       2) Everyone runs their tap for five minutes a day   

       It'll soon fill back up again.
not_morrison_rm, Jun 13 2012

       Great idea if you never plan to use it on crops, drink it, wash with it, shower with it...   

Klaatu, Jun 15 2012

       Hmmm, fish mining, to get back all those heavy metals...
not_morrison_rm, Jun 15 2012

       yeh, yeh, shut your Bore Hole.
bungston, Jun 15 2012

       Well (no pun intended) as least you'd save money on pit-props. I can see them now, a whole generation of Welsh miners donning scuba gear and doing a bubbly underwater rendition of "Lloyd George knew my father", presumably not in the biblical sense....
not_morrison_rm, Jun 17 2012

       So backing up to generalities: how does one recharge an aquifer? It is not like filling a jug. There are plenty of bodies of water in the Midwest which presumably overlie the Ogalalla but which do not go swirling down the drain into some dried- out nether regions. Probably there are some areas (sandy soil etc) more important than others for retarding groundwater. Rather than a huge cross-country canal trek for lake water from superior, maybe smaller but more local water bodies could be diverted so as to maximize recharge?
bungston, Jun 17 2012

       10 years late, but:   

       Natural recharge occurs when rain falls on the exposed areas of a deep basin. Either areas with porous overlay, or where the porous material of the basin itself is exposed at uplifted edges. That water flows, slowly, through the rock, eventually permeating and filling the basin. This takes anywhere from days to centuries depending on the exposed area relative to unexposed area, both depth and location. However, it also naturally filters the water, resulting in clean water in the aquifer. Most water in the great plains states goes through this process already, we're just using it faster than it can recharge.   

       Direct injection basically reverses the well process. Assuming a new and plentiful supply, you feed it into one or more wells as fast as they can absorb it. This can be aided by keeping some pressure on it. While this will refill the immediate area relatively quickly, you need to make sure the water going in is clean, as it doesn't have the same filtering capability. And it will still take significant time for the filling to spread since the resistance to injection increases as the local area of the aquifer saturates.
MechE, Jan 14 2022


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