Shaking out some salt solutions

  Dear HCN,

Jim Downing's article about the problem of salt in the San Joaquin Valley (HCN, 11/19/01: Will salt sink an agricultural empire?) suggests that, at the present time, the only solution is to complete the aqueduct to the delta.

Considering the cost of what is happening now, perhaps one other solution, other than a desalinization plant, might be considered.

There is one Florida city, I recall, which built a pipeline out into the ocean and dumps its sewage well out into the Atlantic. Could the aqueduct be extended far enough into the ocean that the salt would simply be mixed with already salty ocean water and not cause any harm?

Recently a major Japanese company was planning to build huge drying beds in Mexico just so they could get salt. Would the same Japanese company be interested in providing a desalinization plant, or at least paying a major portion of the cost of building and operating it, to get the salt? Granted both of these may be very wild ideas, but they might be worth exploring, not just because the farmland could be saved, but also agricultural production, which is likely to become increasingly important to our nation.

Robert K. Phillips
Denver, Colorado