According to James Hansen, a leading scientist on climate change, the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta south to the Gulf of Mexico would be “game over,” resulting in disaster in regards to carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere. And that prediction does not take into account the environmental risks and impacts of construction or future leaks.

Yet many still favor its construction for the overall economic benefits to this nation as well as the construction jobs it would create. There may be a partial solution to this controversial project: build the pipeline, but use it for water, not oil. There is a severe water shortage in the Southwest. Currently, that region is largely dependent on ground water that is part of a water table from the last ice age. This water, a non-renewable resource, is quickly being drawn down and will soon be gone.

Canada has abundant renewable water, a resource that is far more valuable than oil. A water line for our arid Southwest would have positive economic and societal impacts far greater than oil. So build the pipeline, but use it for water.

Warren BalgooyenNorridgewock