February Newsline: EPA, MSD water talks continue; White House Jobs Summit pushes water division project and more

February 2010 Vol. 65 No. 2

The "North American Water and Power Alliance" (NAWAPA) was developed by the Ralph Parsons Engineering Company of Southern California in the early 1970s. Extensive engineering studies were done to establish the feasibility of diverting fresh water from powerful northern-flowing rivers in Alaska and Northern Canada southward through the Rockies into the southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico. Seen as a major "Work Projects Administration (WPA)"-style undertaking, NAWAPA would create thousands of jobs at all skill levels and yield enormous beneficial results.

Nicholas F. Benton, president of Benton Communications Inc., said he intends to launch a non-profit educational and promotional effort to remind official Washington, D.C. policy makers of NAWAPA.

In January 1966, at the instigation of the late U.S. Senator Frank E. Moss (D-Utah), a "Western Water" subcommittee of the Senate Public Works committee produced a study on NAWAPA in its various aspects, and held a series of sub-committee hearings. Moss left the Senate in 1976, but teamed with Benton in the early 1980s in an independent effort to revive interest.

Noting that large-scale water diversion projects have played a major role in turning the U.S. into the economic powerhouse of the world, Benton said that another feasible large-scale diversion project involves diverting water from the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Lake Chad basin, where water could then be pumped eastward and westward across the breadth of the entire Sahel. He said French engineering studies were produced in the last century, but he has been unable to locate them.

EPA releases guidance to better manage stormwater
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued guidance to help federal agencies minimize the impact of federal development projects on nearby water bodies. The guidance is being issued in response to a change in law and an Executive Order signed by President Obama, which calls upon all federal agencies to lead by example to address a wide range of environmental issues, including stormwater runoff.

EPA worked closely with other federal agencies to develop this document, which provides background information, key definitions, case studies and guidance on meeting the new requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.