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Build a river in the Sahara
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Hundreds of people in Africa die everyday simply from thirst lack of water. It is obvious water is a key element to building a succesfull humane civilization. We already know there are many underground water supplies in the Sahara. I suggest we study more deeply the fluid movement of these underground aquafers, and try to create underground dams linking these water sources together to diverge at a point near the Atlas mountains. And then construct an artifical mountain peak on top of the atlas mountains, using porous pavement, asphalt, and garbage. Then Canada can sell us some iceburgs and using the CL-75 we can lift these iceburgs to the top of the mountain. Then dig a small passage from that point to the Niger river or Lake Chad, line that passage way with porous pavement and clay. And then continue bringing in more iceburgs for maybe the next 10 years, place bolders containing lithium around the top of the mountain, plant some grass or some other minor form of vegitation, wait another 50 to 100 years and we will have a new river in Africa. With this new river the people in Africa can prospur with the rest of the world.
wood2coal, Dec 12 2001

African geoscience http://www.geoscafr.com/agrvols.html
[lewisgirl, Dec 12 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

The Sahara http://www.theatlan.../langew/extreme.htm
[stupop, Dec 12 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Egyptian water use statistics http://espejo.unesc.../html/tb_21'eg.html
To give you an idea what's required. [pottedstu, Dec 12 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

CL-75 http://www.aircargo...m/Update_news.htm#h
[pottedstu, Dec 12 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Relief map of Africa http://ga-mac.uncc....00_projects/WebGIF2
Not very good, but shows the general lie of the land. [pottedstu, Dec 12 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

See sidebar on Gaviotas http://www.undp.org...Strategy_for_SL.htm
See Welwitschia mirabilis, too! The coneys are weak, but they live in the rocks. [hello_c, Dec 14 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Saharan desertification caused by Earth's orbit? http://www.scienced...07/990712080500.htm
A project beyond the dreams of megalomania [hello_c, Dec 14 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

When the Sahara was savannah... http://www.hp.uab.e...archive/ta/tad.html
Before the goats ate all the grass [Guy Fox, Dec 17 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       Where do I begin? Nevermind, someone else can begin.
PotatoStew, Dec 12 2001

benfrost, Dec 12 2001

       Right. So are YOU bankrolling the biggest construction project in the history of mankind?
mrkillboy, Dec 12 2001

       I never said the project would be cheap. But it is possible. And you have to weigh out the costs with the benifits. Personaly I think the Benifits of such a project like this would make the whole thing worth it. And like I said it will take a very long time to build so wether the money comes from Africa or from America, the tax rate will not be a huge jump, all we have to do is raise 200 billion dolars in less than 110 years sounds concivible to me. And most of the man power will come from Africa. Building the Chunnel was a very long and expensive project but it finally paid off.
wood2coal, Dec 12 2001

       Wouldn't it be cheaper just to airlift in jugs of water?
PotatoStew, Dec 12 2001

       This would certainly be a tough sell.   

       Now if someone were to discover oil or diamonds in the area...
phoenix, Dec 12 2001

       I admire the intention here. I ain't no civil engineer, however, and I hate to be one of those "it'll never fly" type of people, but I just can't see this working.   

       What's up with the Lithium, anyway? Does it somehow suck the water up through the artificial mountain, so that it can then flow down?   

       Also -- spell check, please...
snarfyguy, Dec 12 2001

       Lithium ignites on contact with water. (More pedantically, it oxidizes, producing lithium oxide and hydrogen. The hydrogen is ignited by the heat of the reaction.)
angel, Dec 12 2001

       Half-baked in the J.G. Ballard novel, The Day of Creation.
Guy Fox, Dec 12 2001

       The idea of using icebergs as a water source by towing them to desert regions has been widely discussed. Airlifting them to the top of mountains and letting them run down, soak into the soil, and evaporate is very inefficient, as you would lose a large proportion of the water. I imagine solar-powered desalination plants are a better way to go.
pottedstu, Dec 12 2001

       I imagine that the people who run solar-powered desalination plants agree.
angel, Dec 12 2001

       On the same scale, why not build a large enough mountain range to deflect wind upwards to induce precipitation? You do not have to continue bringing in icebergs.
neelandan, Dec 12 2001

       um, climatic, surely?
lewisgirl, Dec 12 2001

       Climactic as well, I would think.
angel, Dec 12 2001

       waug is very anti-climactic apparently.
PotatoStew, Dec 12 2001

       Another possibility is that, seeing as deserts tend to lie on the western side of continents, if we reversed the earth's rotation periodically, that might bring climate change.
pottedstu, Dec 12 2001

       pottedstu: "Airlifting iceburgs to the top of mountains and letting them run down, soak into the soil, and evaporate is very inefficient, as you would lose a large proportion of the water. I imagine solar-powered desalination plants are a better way to go"   

       allowing the water to soak into the soil is very efficient and nesicary, a project like this is not just to be a drinking water supply but infact creating an entirly new eco system. As I said the Ice burgs would only have to be artificaly brought in for the first ten years after that the mountain will begin producing its own iceburgs. The water in the soil will cause more trees to grow, and infact in time we can even try puting some fish in this river. I doubt there are any fish in solar-powered desalination plants. (And remember this idea of creating a river is a different objective than the objective of solar-powered desalination plants. solar-powered desalination plants are just there to provide a source of drinking water for the people, creating a river will provide a source of water for the entire envornment. Using clay and porus will allow the river to naturaly expand itself instead of keeping it contained. And ofcourse there would have to be extinsive studys done to predict what the climatic effects would be.
wood2coal, Dec 12 2001

       wood2coal, don't you think it's strange that everyone else spells it 'icebergs'? Please check up on this for me, I am unsure who is correct. 'nesicary', 'infact', 'eco system', 'artificaly', 'envornment' and a few others also puzzle me. My first language isn't English either, so I know how it feels.
lewisgirl, Dec 12 2001

       Your initial statement of the problem with which this idea would deal was "Hundreds of people in Africa die everyday simply from thirst lack of water. It is obvious water is a key element to building a succesfull humane civilization."   

       I don't think this is the best way of solving that problem, not least since the rate of evaporation in this part of the world is phenomenal. It might be fun to try though. If only Brewster had had access to the halfbakery he mightn't have had so much trouble losing those millions.
stupop, Dec 12 2001

       [lg]: You're a Scottish Geordie American Brummie; what the hell *is* your first language? <g>
angel, Dec 12 2001

That's exactly the problem - I have no idea. But I do try to empathise, tenuous as the truth is.
lewisgirl, Dec 12 2001

       How is this going to create a self-sustaining river? Just planting trees will not guarantee sufficient rainfall. It is more probable that the trees will die without sufficent supplies of water being shipped in (and without fertilizer; desert soil is not rich in nutrients). It's also worth noticing that the North-Western Sahara just south of the Atlas mountains is at a lower elevation than much of the central Sahara lying further to the south.   

       I also wonder if you could find a more expensive way of achieving this goal than by airlifting icebergs. Egypt, with a population of 68 million, has a water consumption per year (including irrigation use) of 38 billion cubic metres, or 558 cubic metres per person. That weighs 38 billion tonnes in total. A CL-75 has a cargo capacity of 75 tonnes. So that would require 7.4 flights per person per year. I guess it's not insurmountable, depending on how many people you're planning to support, and how many CL-75 airships you have.
pottedstu, Dec 12 2001

       "Berg" is German for "mountain." "Burg" is German for "fortress," but most English-speakers would call most Burgs "castles." Maybe he means ice castles, which would at least be easier to transport.
beauxeault, Dec 12 2001

       oh I thought burg was short for burgh which in the Anglo-Saxon spelling becomes borough. Therefore he wants a whole ice town on top of these mountains. Cool!
lewisgirl, Dec 12 2001

       Yeesh...another overengineered and completely unworkable idea...
StarChaser, Dec 12 2001

       That'd be one hell of a fast tow. Very few planes can fly under 100mph...
StarChaser, Dec 13 2001

       Sahara is a feedback loop (PeterSealy)
mountain will begin producing its own iceburgs (wood2coal)
has a plan to tow ... icebergs to the Sahara (PeterSealy)

       Horse latitudes, deserts all lie between 20 to 30 degrees of latitude on both hemispheres of the earth. Warm, moist air rises over the equator, loses moisture as it rises and cools down and comes down over there. It is warm and dry. There are no rives in the Sahara because the atmosphere does not oblige by airlifting large quantities of water, for free, and dropping it as rain. Since it is the large scale movement of air which is responsible for causing rain it is debatable whether afforesting a patch of desert is likely to cause a change in the climate.   

       If you insist on bringing in water go for the cheapest mode of transport. Build a pipeline. Or dig a canal and tow in icebergs or, more likely, barges filled with water.   

       Wouldn't it be better for you to capitalise on the abundant sunshine, around 1KW per sq.m?
neelandan, Dec 13 2001

       I misread your annotation, you dumbass. Can we drop the insults now?   

       I read '...who has a plan to tow icebergs...' as '...who has a PLANE to tow icebergs...'. I don't think 'moron' was warranted.   

       Was a rather amusing idea, though, a pair of F-16's hauling a Titanic-sinker at mach 2...
StarChaser, Dec 13 2001

       boys, boys back to your corners, gumshields out, spit in a bucket and come out fighting clean, you hear?
po, Dec 13 2001

       [neelandan] - wrong, e.g. the deserts in the Tarim Basin, at about 40° north.   

       Besides, even if the deserts of Africa share a latitude with many other deserts, a more important question is whether all land in those latitudes is desert; and this is not so. More interesting yet, some (not all) of what's currently desert was once arable.   

       Most interesting, there's some evidence that desertification can be reversed some places - basically by coddling a forest until it's big enough to catch rain, which can happen in less than a human lifetime. Cf. Gaviotas, an attempt at Nerdvana that did invent much cool stuff, and planted a new forest - which catches enough water to provide human drinking water. (see link.)
hello_c, Dec 14 2001

       Bringing water to distant places by pipeline (as neelandan and UnaBubba suggested) has been attempted before with success, but I think the Sahara is on a larger scale than most other water pipelines. One of the longest that I can think of off the top of my head is the C. Y. O'Connor pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie (500km-ish). That pipe was built in the early 1900s and people said it wouldn't work. I doubt that it would have been built if not for the gold mining industry in Kalgoorlie. Any attempt at irrigating the Sahara would have to be at least an order of magnitude longer, and there is no immediate reason for those with enough money (i.e. not Africa) to attempt it.
cp, Dec 15 2001

       And that fossil evidence is usually cited in support of the theory of continental drift.
neelandan, Dec 15 2001

       neel ann dan gosh it does feel good to become three.   

       There is a way to settle this. Find a spot in the ocean with about the same atmospheric currents as the Sahara, and estimate the net gain due to rain versus evaporation.   

       Most of the ocean has a net loss because the land has a net gain (the difference flows into the sea as rivers).
neelandan, Dec 17 2001

       [neelandan] Surely you understand that an ocean has a net loss because it has water to spare (whereas land does not). You seem to imply that it rains more over land than it does over water and I can't imagine that's true.
phoenix, Dec 17 2001

       True, phoenix.   

       UB: tail of the last ice age?
neelandan, Dec 18 2001

       Isn't the sahara desert aresult of the Romans overgrazing in that general area. If that is true, than we should fight back and turn it back into farmlands/forest/savannah for the benefit of mankind!
As for the original idea; go ahead with it when humans go extinct(It's going to happen, don't worry) we will want to be remebered for something, and a new river is the perfect thing.
salmon, Dec 18 2001

       Bad idea. Who'd pay for all the map recalls and redrawings? I shudder to think of the task of drawing in a new river on the millions of maps of Africa as a continent, but think of all the world maps we'd have to deal with!   

       Why not forget the river stuff and have the Africans just directly prospur from bolder iceburgs?
ertdfgcvb, Aug 18 2003

       How about something more practical to bring more water to the Sahara? Tributaries of the Niger and Congo Rivers (which are mostly in rainforests and prone to flooding) could be diverted to refill the shrinking Lake Chad and to fill up the dusty hellhole known as the Bodele Depression. The people in the region are starving and need the water.   

       The insurmountable problems here are money and politics. The region is dirt poor, and getting at least a half dozen corrupt african governments to cooperate is probably impossible.   

       One possible silver lining to these dark clouds: French vanity and desire for influence. Except for Nigeria, all the countries involved are former French colonies, and the French would love to have the influence there that they once had (especially if French companies got the work).
NickB, Nov 29 2004

       favorite parts:   

       "Hundreds of people in Africa die everyday simply from thirst lack of water. It is obvious"   

       "I suggest we study more deeply the fluid movement of these underground aquafers"
JesusHChrist, Aug 25 2005

       I chose to fishbone it from:   

       "an artificial mountain...using porous pavement, ashphelt and garbage"   

       "Then Canada can sell us some icebergs"   

       "Continue bringing in more icebergs for the next 10 years"   

       Just impossible in engineering and monetary terms.
Germanicus, Aug 27 2005

       im not sure about this but ill say it anyways and if im wrong so be it.   

       Isnt Venus in it's current state because of too much evaporation?   

       prove me wrong if you will.
seventhinline, Aug 27 2005

       Mars, too [seventhinline]. Why?
reensure, Aug 28 2005


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