Joshua Cameron: Form a western alliance to build a pipeline to the Great Salt Lake

A pipeline would show the world how the western states can get things done.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Great Salt Lake marina is void of boats on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, as ongoing drought conditions continue to drop the levels of the lake.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you’re ruled by your inferiors.”

-- Plato

The year was 1985, and I remember looking out west in Utah and seeing a huge ocean of water. Now when I look out west, I see little but wasteland, and it’s threatening the health of me and my family. Is this really the legacy we want to leave?

I’ve traveled the state and spoken to people about the idea of a water pipeline spanning from the west coast states to fill the Great Salt Lake. Most who identify as some level of nature conservationist say they are against the idea of a water pipeline because it would add salinity to a system where water normally falls from the sky with no salinity. Their fear is unintended consequences.

There are two things here I’d like to address:

  • Is 3-4% salinity, that certainly will have ecological impact on the area, worse than ecological disaster and ruin?

  • Modern technology has seen graphen made into membranes that passively desalinate water.

Why this is important to build this pipeline isn’t just for the water but also to put the partisan hackery aside and work together, as Americans. To the person who screams “How are you going to pay for it?” I say, the same way we paid to go to space. We paid for it because we thought Russia was going to get there first, making our livelihoods circumspect. Lack of water and an arsenic dustbowl isn’t that much different than munitions fallout.

When the government goes out of its way to support and augment the lives of its people with a feedback loop for the input of those citizens that does more than ignore them (like our national politics do in this country), we then find ourselves in the best possible solution because we’re creating a future where Americans help over simply hurting Americans. Because in a time when the world is losing its mind, someone needs to step up and who better than the west to pave the way?

Is it possible for Utahns, who are known for their hardiness, whose proud history has the largest migration in America, to show to the rest of the country how a hardy people can put their gripes aside for the benefit of our future, for ourselves and for our children? I know I’d love to show my son that ocean of water one day, but if we decide that partisan bickering is where we should focus our efforts, he just may suffer and succumb to lung cancer before that can ever be more than a shadow of a dream.

The Great Salt Lake provides about 7,700 jobs alone. Without it, our snow is certainly not the greatest on earth. This impacts Utah alone in the billions.

Utah isn’t the only state that can use water pipelines let alone water efficient desalinization technology. Do we want to be the ones that put leadership and community before sole personal gain? Is this an example of behavior we would like to hand down to our children to help protect them from a world gone mad, so they don’t lose their way as well? Where we can be the example and the invitation to do better and not have our heads up our fourth points of contact (i.e., our butts)?

Put aside the partisan bickering and let’s make a western states alliance and show how the West gets things done! The world is watching, and our kids are in desperate need of some genuine leadership. Is it too much to ask to give it to them?

“What it means to be fully human is to strive to live by ideas and ideals and not measure your life in terms of desires obtained. But those small moments of integrity, compassion, rationality, even self sacrifice. Because in the end, the only way we can measure the significance of our own lives is by valuing the lives of others.”

-- Life of David Gale

Joshua Cameron

Joshua Cameron is a consultant and U.S. combat veteran, born and raised in Utah, living in West Valley City.