The Real-Life Nilak? Company Proposes Shipping Water to Drought Zone

Back in February I wrote a post about the Cassandra curse of sci-fi writers: when a concept you’ve imagined is unexpectedly mirrored in reality. This weekend brought perhaps the most uncanny such moment I’ve ever experienced. According to USAToday, a private company plans to ship fresh water from Alaska to California, just like the fictional Nilak company in my novel Blue Karma.

Alaska Bulk Water holds rights to nine billion gallons of water in Blue Lake on Baranof Island, and the company’s CEO says municipal and industrial customers in California–where the epic drought persists into its fourth consecutive year–are eager to buy the imported H2O. The scheme presents new logistical challenges, such as creating infrastructure to offload the product at its destination, and water experts argue the idea is economically unsound. But if successful, the scheme could allow shipment of up to ten million gallons per month via tanker.

This is one of the reasons I opted to release Blue Karma as an eBook rather than pursue traditional publishing: I feared that by the time the story hit shelves, it would no longer read like environmental science fiction, but environmental realism! Imagine if Alaska Bulk Water’s ambitious model succeeds. How many other businesses would spring up to compete? What if locals resented the sale of their water, preferring to keep it for their community’s use? Would authorities step in to regulate the price of privately sold water, or would customers be at the mercy of market forces? I explored some of these ideas in Blue Karma, but I may get to watch them play out in reality sooner than I expected.

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