Managing Scarcity I: Infrastructure

19 images Created 25 Jan 2018

This is where it begins.

The 1930's. To this point, irrigation is haphazard piles of dirt shaped by men with shovels - muddy labor that needed constant maintenance. Few tribes of men where up to the challenge. The religious zeal of the Mormons carried them into the West and gave them vast energies for it's settling. Surely, there must be an easier way.

So the dream was planted in the mind of man, and it slowly began to germinate like a tomato in a blazing heat. With government engines firing on all cylinders, America began to churn itself out of the depression, All these years later, one may wonder in awe that it was ever accomplished.

The Public Works Administration completed some of the largest infrastructure projects in the Country, including Hoover Dam. Soon, organizations such as the Corp of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation realized they could build the dream, and make it real. The desert could bloom.

They planned and completed massive, publicly-funded earthmoving projects. Rivers bent to their their will, landscaped transformed. Towns, forests, canyons, waterfalls and cemeteries across the nation disappeared beneath a surging rise of cool desert lakes, never to return.

The desert did bloom, and it continues to this day. Mountains and valleys of concrete, most erected between 1930 and 1970, criss-cross the length of the State bringing snow-melt from the Sierra Nevada to the fields and cities below. The natural system, measured and built by the one engineer whose work never fails, was surveyed and re-plumbed to suit modern needs.

Thanks to this herculean effort, Agriculture is king in California, generating $45.3 billion in 2016 - the worst drought year in memory.

Indeed, despite the dream we still have droughts. The concrete hasn't solved all our problems, and it has created many we failed to foresee....
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