Henderson: Sell Excess Lake Michigan Water to Avoid Flooding

Commentary: How Can We Stop a Rising Lake Michigan from Damaging Communities? Sell the Excess Water at a Tidy Profit.

Rising waters are wreaking havoc on communities all around Lake Michigan. It isn’t just the beach houses of the 1% in peril. In the past two years, the tiny town of Manistee, Michigan (population 6,000), has spent over $2.5 million to repair roads ruined by flooding. All the money spent shoring up property — now likely to be in the billions — is being wasted.

There is a simple solution that will not only improve lakefront communities, but will also help address the financial woes of states and improve other communities across the country. Sell the water.

Lake Michigan is up 6 feet since 2013 and is about 39 inches over its long-term monthly January average. A significant amount of this water can be seen as excessive. Even the most ardent environmentalist has to agree that we have too much water, and that reducing lake levels somewhat would not harm the environment.

We have too much water here, but plenty of communities have too little water. About half of Texas is experiencing moderate to severe drought. Vast swaths of California, Oregon, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico are also experiencing major droughts. Moving water from Lake Michigan to farmers and communities in these places would make everyone better off.

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