Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The End of the River

The End of the River by Simon Winchester
Scribd: 4/14/20
eBook review copy; 44 pages 

The End of the River by Simon Winchester is a recommended short treatise on the seemingly impossible future challenge of controlling the path of the Mississippi River as it rolls to the Gulf by New Orleans.

The Mississippi is the third largest river in the world and ends up moving two-thirds of the watershed of the continental USA down to the Gulf. It is the most commercially active river on the planet. The struggle to control and tame the mighty Mississippi has been an ongoing effort for years and, in many ways is an impossible herculean task that never should have been undertaken. At this point in history the structures built to contain and control the river were made half a century ago and are inadequate to deal with a river that no longer resembles the one from years past.

Winchester covers the history of the methods of control, the structures built, and the looming environmental and human disaster that awaits due to changing weather patterns. "The ultimate problem for these structures relates not so much to their engineering shortcomings as to one simple reality: They were designed half a century ago, and were made to try to deal with a river that barely resembles its current incarnation, and to function in an environment that is also now drastically and unrecognizably different."

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribd.

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