The Mississippi River basin finally got a grade this week and it is an outstanding… D+? That certainly does not look good. However, the good news is that the D+ for the Mississippi River basin does raise awareness towards a transportation infrastructure that needs some major updates. The fact that the basin got such a low grade is not only an issue for the people involved with it, but for infrastructure specialists in general.
The report was released on Wednesday and it covered a number of variables that simply cannot be left undiscussed: the percentage of clean water, how well people can deal with floods and what is the risk of occurrence, how healthy the ecosystem is and how the river affects others such as Ohio, Missouri or Tennessee. To put it very simple: this river passes by, or casually touches, 31 states in the US.
The most worrying were dams and locks, which forced specialists’ hands into giving them disastrous grades. A mere D was given for the condition that the infrastructure was in and a blatant F was given to the way infrastructure was maintained. In short, the condition of the Mississippi River basin puts the country at risk. People’s lives and the economy are not issues to be trifled with, but this condition is doing just so.
Stephen Gambrell, the director of the Mississippi River commission, has declared that the aging water infrastructure renders America weak when it comes to transporting food and any other goods. If we do not give this issue the attention that it requires, we might find ourselves in difficulty of feeding our people or even protecting them from major floods. Something needs to be done about it.
So what can we do about it? Not much, according to specialists. The basin’s current condition is already telling us that some imminent calamities are on their way and while the best solution is to warn the people who are in danger, as it will be done, it will still not make up for the fact that the infrastructure failed and we will have to deal with all the issues it caused.
Perhaps the best thing that will come out of this is the fact that people will understand how important it is to preserve these resources as much as possible. The D+ for the Mississippi River basin is a fair warning that we either take care of the infrastructure or people from all over the country will have to suffer because of our ignorance.
Photo Credits: wikimedia.org