Subscribe to EIR Online
This documentation appears in the March 31, 2006 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Great Projects To Solve the Water Crisis

Since the very inception of his political movement, Lyndon LaRouche has placed a primary emphasis on the high-technology development of the Earth's water resources—most notably through nuclear-powered desalination—as vital for continued human life on this planet. Here we excerpt from a few of the many articles by him or about his work.

Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., "The Grand Design for World Development: The Nuplex and U.S. Vital Interests," Fusion, August 1978:

...The new field of energy production that will take over dominance during the remainder of this century is nuclear energy.... By the end of the 1990s, a shifting composition of ordinary fission, fission-breeder, fission-fusion, and fusion energy will be the principal source of new energy supplies into the world's electrical grid systems, and waste heat from nuclear production will be a major source of energy in industrial-process applications, desalination, and related uses in the vicinity of nuclear-energy sites.

The most efficient approach to the use of nuclear energy in the developing sector generally is the creation of nuplexes.

A nuplex is a new agroindustrial city built around paired nuclear energy plants, each in the 0.5-gigawatt to 1.5-gigawatt range (by present standards). To economize on distribution costs, and to exploit the waste heat produced, industrial consumers of output will huddle around the plants, creating a new sort of "clean" industrial (and employment) center. With the growing importance of the "clean water" problem, and with the opportunity to replicate California's Imperial Valley in many parts of the world, desalination and other water-purification exploiting waste heat will make nuplexes key in meeting agricultural and population clean-water requirements....

Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., "Won't You Please Let Your Grandchildren Have a Drink of Fresh Water?" National Democratic Policy Committee (NDPC) pamphlet, 1982:

Preface—Our Greatest Environmental Danger

Next to a general thermonuclear war, the greatest single environmental danger to the American people over the coming two decades is the danger that whole regions of our nation will simply run out of usable fresh-water supplies. This is an acute danger in a region within a hundred-mile radius of New York City. The greatest area of present danger lies in the area west of the Mississippi.

This problem has been seen coming, at least by more far-sighted people, for most of the post-war period. Unfortunately, the general public has been kept in ignorance of this policy issue, and certain among influential political circles have sabotaged sound policies and programs, each for one of a variety of reasons.

Now, unless we act quickly, the Great American West is going to die, suffocated by a swirl of dust and sewage. Already much of our agriculture is in danger, as the drought of 1980 ought to warn us. A few more years ahead, the water shortage will grow to become the most acute environmental danger to many facets of our life, as well as our nation's supplies of food and fiber.

There are three basic approaches which must be combined to overcome this problem.

First, there is the approach which Texas Congressman Jim Wright supported in a book he published back during the middle of the 1960s,[1] the so-called North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA).[2] That is the immediate action on which this NDPC policy outline concentrates. Better management of the available fresh-water supplies of the North American continent will not only solve this particular problem over the decades ahead, but will become the foundation for an explosion in wealth throughout a region west of the line of the Mississippi River, in Canada, the United States, and northern Mexico.

Second, by creating the conditions for growing denser populations of crops, shrubbery and trees in presently arid regions, the vapor transpiration from plant-life will recycle fresh water through improved rainfall patterns. This would occur largely as a by-product of implementing NAWAPA and related regional and local fresh-water management actions.

Third, over the longer period, nuclear-energy technologies will provide us unlimited fresh-water supplies, as improvements in technology lower the costs of desalinating sea-water on a large scale, and aid us in turning polluted waste water into pure fresh water for re-use many times over on the way to the sea. With such technologies, the vast Sahara region can be transformed into a rich, habitable region, together with the Gobi desert in Asia.

As the NAWAPA example shows, the investment in improvement of fresh-water supplies is a highly profitable investment. Every dollar wisely spent on NAWAPA will increase the production of wealth in our Western states many times over during the course of the coming decades. It is the same with nuclear-energy technologies.

There are no practical or economic reasons not to proceed. The obstacles have been and continue to be only political wrong-headedness. Once the facts are considered, we must also say that the political obstacles are downright immoral. There is no morally acceptable reason to argue against taking those steps which are absolutely necessary to ensure that our grandchildren, and their children, can walk to the kitchen cold-water tap and draw a glass of clean fresh water....

The Independent Democrats' 1984 Platform: Five Crises Facing the Next President, Presidential Campaign Platform of the LaRouche-Davis Ticket, September 1984:

Crisis 4—The World-Wide Food Shortage Now Erupting

... 5. Immediate action to develop fresh-water management systems in areas suffering or threatened by major water shortages.

Candidate LaRouche has co-sponsored revival of proposals to develop a continental water-management system, to include bringing water now flowing into the Arctic Ocean down through the Western states: one line running in the arid region between California and the Rocky Mountains, and the second to the east of the Rockies, across the river-systems flowing eastward into the Mississippi. The feasibility of such a program was developed years ago by a major engineering firm, a design named the NAWAPA project. LaRouche has adopted an expanded version of this proposal, which would integrate the eastern United States via the Great Lakes and the Tennessee and Mississippi states' water-systems. Such a continental system of water-management would be integrated with state and regional water-management systems. The expanded version of NAWAPA, combined with these state and regional water-management systems, would therefore constitute a single, combined, continental water-management system for the United States as a whole.

The indicated, immediate measures of emergency action would give priority to those parts of the proposed system whose existing agricultural potentials require prompt remedies for a serious and worsening subsidence of water-tables....

Marcia Merry Baker, "LaRouche's 25-Year 'Oasis Plan' Campaign," EIR, May 16, 2003:

In 1975, Lyndon LaRouche issued a policy proposal in Berlin, for an International Development Bank (IDB) to back priority regional economic programs in the mutual interest of nations in key regions of the world. Foremost among these was the Middle East, which LaRouche had just visited. During the same period, he conferred in Europe with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The strategic elements of LaRouche's IDB involved providing, through high-technology means, ample water, power, and related infrastructure to meet the long-term needs of all in the region. Not simply a peace plan, LaRouche's proposal was a response to the fast-diminishing water resource base in these arid lands, which, since then, has reached the crisis stage. Throughout the 1980s, he was in active dialogue with policymakers in the region.

In July 1990, LaRouche spoke specifically of an "Oasis Plan" approach. He stated on July 12, 1990, "To avoid a conflict which would be ruinous for all peoples and nations of the Middle East, an effective series of common interest proposals must be made in accord with the rights of all parties. Debate around such proposals is inherently healthy and confidence-building. Although to some, an Oasis Plan seems an unlikely proposition under the present circumstances, the price of failing to implement such a program will be staggering. Therefore, there is no obstacle so great, nor so difficult, that we should not seek to overcome it in order to further economic cooperation."

In September 1993, the signing of the historic Oslo Peace Accord, with its economic development protocols, including water provisions, seemed to provide the miracle opportunity—but the initiatives were thwarted.

In January 1997, elements of the kind of program LaRouche describes as the "Oasis Plan" were shown on a map—reproduced here, in an EIR Special Report, The Eurasian Land-Bridge (January 1997).

In July 2000, once again, an attempted peace summit was convened—with water included as a topic—between President Clinton, Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Arafat, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, but it broke down. On Aug. 6, 2000, LaRouche wrote a policy document, "Water As a Strategic Flank: Wherein Clinton Failed," on the necessity of a "desalination-based economic development program we first presented to relevant Arabs, Israelis, and others a quarter-century ago"—the "Oasis Plan." He warned, "In most of the region, and especially for the largest portions of the area, there simply do not exist sources of supply of usable water sufficient to meet the elementary needs of the population. Hence, without large-scale desalination programs being put immediately into operation, there is no hope for durable peaceful relations among the populations of this region."

Again visiting the region, LaRouche gave a presentation on May 26, 2002, "The Middle East As a Strategic Crossroad," at the Zayed Center in Dubai, stressing the scientific potential we have for geo-engineering to create new environments. "The characteristic of that portion of a predominantly Islamic civilization, which extends from Asia's 'roof of the world,' westward, through the Middle East, and across northern Africa, is the continuing struggle against the aridization which has continued during approximately the past 6-8,000 years.... The development of fresh-water production and management, which is interlinked with the role of petroleum, is the indispensable foundation for all other optimistic prospects for a peaceful and politically stable internal development of the Middle East region.... There will be no peace without adequate provision of water."

[1] Jim Wright, The Coming Water Famine (New York: Coward McCann, 1966).

[2] Representative Wright credits Donald McCord Baker, former water planning engineer for Los Angeles County, with the original idea for NAWAPA, and reports that Baker enlisted the Ralph M. Parson's Company to develop the proposal.

Back to top