Captured Rain: America's Thirst for Canadian Water

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Captured Rain: America's Thirst for Canadian Water
This playlist was created by Doug Humphrey on Wednesday, April 01, 2009.

Account: Canada Custom Collection
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Captured Rain: America’s Thirst for Canadian Water (47:30)

As current sources of fresh water become increasingly inadequate to support the needs of North America below the Canadian border, the U.S. and Mexico are looking toward their northern neighbor for relief. This program examines the political and commercial ramifications of NAFTA on the bulk export of water, as well as initiatives to conserve and recycle fresh water in the Sun Belt and in northern Mexico. Former senator Paul Simon, environmentalist Richard Bocking, agronomist Wendy Holm, trade negotiators, lawyers, and others discuss the growing geopolitical tension surrounding the commodification of water. (47 minutes)

Kirins' Vision for Canadian Water (01:25)
In the 1930s Tom Kirins was deeply affected by the drought in America. He wondered if water from Canada's James Bay could be transported to the U.S. and Mexico.

Man's Attempt to Conquer Drought (02:37)
In 1953 the U.S. and Mexico dammed the Rio Grande and flooded towns. In 1993, a drought reclaimed the area and dried up the water. Mexico and the U.S.'s Southern states are in a drought.

"Cadillac Desert" (03:38)
Southern California and other states are "Cadillac deserts" made inhabitable by bringing in outside water. Water trapped by the Hoover Dam supplies water to Las Vegas, the driest city in the U.S.

Colorado River: Lifeblood of the West (04:04)
The Colorado River supports seven U.S. states and Mexico. Eighty-five percent of the water is used for agriculture. City dwellers complain farmers get too much; farmers say the U.S. needs the crops to eat.

16th-Century Mega-Drought (04:11)
Climatologists study tree rings to determine past periods of drought. A 20-year drought in the 16th century devastated the Colorado River. Mega-droughts occurred before human interference.

Liquid Salvation from the North (02:24)
Southern states look to the North for water sources. Man has dammed and redirected water over long distances since Roman times. The environmental movement slows dam building.

NAWAPA Project (03:14)
The NAWAPA project sought to bring water to the mainland from Alaska. The redirection of water would have had disastrous consequences. Water serves a purpose being where it is.

Grappling Over the Great Lakes (02:42)
In 1885, Chicago channeled Lake Michigan into the city to battle a cholera epidemic. A proposal for additional water diversion was opposed by the governors of the Great Lakes states.

Kirins' GRAND Canal Concept (04:49)
A Newfoundland native and engineer, Kirins' GRAND Canal Concept proposes building a dike across Hudson Bay and "recycling" water from James Bay to the Great Lakes, then across the U.S.

Kirins Defends His Concept (02:45)
Environmentalist Bocking argues that Kirins' plan would alter the salinity of Hudson Bay. Kirins argues that fresh water prevents survival of sea life and makes Hudson Bay an ecological desert.

Water Management on the Rio Grande (03:09)
A water management facility along the Rio Grande between the U.S. and Mexico deals with drought conditions and political pressure. Invasive plant species in the river add to the problems.

New Technology Battles Droughts (04:10)
New technology like drip irrigation and reclaimed water is being used on farms, hotels, and golf courses. Desert communities offer rewards to residents landscaping with drought-resistant flora.

Desalination--The Last Great Hope (03:29)
Overpopulation and climate change will probably outrun conservation technology. Desalinating sea water, like in Santa Catalina, is the future hope for coastal regions.

America's Interior in Jeopardy (01:36)
Non-coastal regions rely on engineering milestones to bring fresh water to overpopulated desert regions. Engineers will inevitably be called upon in the future to solve the impending water crisis.