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The Mississippi Highlands Project

  • Problem:

 This year, 2008, America's heartland has seen record flooding.  Not only have many floods in the past destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, now many tens of thousands have been evacuated from floods this year, with billions of dollars in damage.  The essential idea of this project is fully expandable to help prevent flooding in any of the Mississippi tributaries and, or course, applicable to any river system in the world.  It all boils down to economics.  See the Great Flood of 1993 below

  • Object:

Create a branching series of subterranean gravity fed aqueduct systems along the Mississippi River designed to absorb 10% more water than has been raised in her largest Flood in the last 100 years which will divert and contain the flood waters within the aqueduct system and a series of 80 or more reservoirs built using the material excavated by the construction of the underground spillways.

  • Method:

Using simple arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry and flow rate calculations for water inside pipe lines of various sizes to determine the required size of an optimally integrated series of aqueducts.   Starting with the total volumetric estimates of the Worst Flood in the region were the system is installed, a specific number of reservoirs is derived of such a capacity that the combined containment of multiple reservoirs and staged reservoirs, to absorb as much or more than the greatest flood on record.

  • Basic Concept:

Flood crest travels down stream as a swollen or inflated "Volume" of water.  The actual volume of various floods on the Mississippi have been calculated by certain federally funded organizations.  Using the known volumetric values to calculate the size or a capillary "sponge" floodway using a dendrite-form tubing system. Calculate the flow rate of the number of openings into the system to determine the required number of roots branches and trunk lines.

Using this dendriform system of aqueducts we can fill everything from small cisterns to massive man made reservoirs.  With this system we will not simply try to protect ourselves from the inevitable flood, we will capture it!   By harnessing the flood waters of the Mississippi we will be able to augment crop irrigation, generate hydroelectric power, create fisheries, recreational pools, public fountains, and water slides and even supply water for small canal projects.

  • Essential Benefits:

The Mississippi Highlands project represents a solution to the majority of flood risks, and an enhancement to existing systems for irrigation of agriculture to the supply of water to massive public fountains. Agricultural Security will be the primary benefit in correlation with flood protection, while providing water pressure public water systems.


  • Flood Costs and Return on Investment

In the 1990s alone, average annual flood losses have topped $7 Billion with the Great Flood of 1993 estimated at $15 Billion.

See the Great Flood of 1993 below

  • Basic Features:

Parking lot sized siphons absorbing large amounts of water"Capillary" / Dendritic / Branching Form

High frequency, high volume low velocity intake screens

Progressively larger diameter (plug-free)

Spill way siphons integrated with storm drains

Soil excavated for aqueduct is used to build reservoirs

  • Basic Calculations:

Considering the full length of 2,381 miles for the river length, and rounding down to 2,000 miles, we can establish our system on the lower 84% of the rivers length.   Knowing also that the fall of the river is about 31 feet for every 50 miles we can divide 2,000 miles by 50 miles we measure 40 iterations of 31 foot falls possible in the 2,000 mile segment.  Considering 31 foot fall to be representative of an installed reservoir, or a pair of reservoirs having one on either side of the Mississippi we can establish 80 reservoirs.    Each of the 80 reservoirs represent a 16 foot diameter spill way that is bored under ground from the reservoir location approximately 50 miles North an slightly steeper grade than the river.  Each of the 16 foot diameter spill ways are connected to

Therefore we have the following:

Key Metrics

Reservoir 1,000 acres.
Spillway Trunkline @ 16 Feet Diameter
Spillway Tributary @ 8 Feet Diameter
Parking Lot Spillway "Siphon" 150,000 square feet.

80 Reservoirs each have a 50 Mile long 16 food diameter spillway each.
    80*50=4,000 miles of spill way

  • Proposed Alignment

Little Falls Minnesota To the New Orleans

City Little Falls
State/Region MN
Country US [United States]
Latitude 45.977188
Longitude -94.370804
45.977188, -94.370804
N45°58.63128, W094°22.24824
Elevation 1,112 ft (339 m)


  • Mississippi River - Basic Facts

Begins:  Lake Itasca

Ends: Gulf of Mexico

Length: 2,381 Miles

Flow Rate at Headwaters:  6 cubic feet per second

Flow Rate at Delta:  600,000 cubic feet per second

Speed at Headwaters  1.2 miles per hour

Width at Headwaters:  20-30 feet

Width at Delta:   Almost 1 mile

Rise: 1,475 feet

Run: 12,571,680 feet

Slope: 0.000117327

Angle of Repose:  Just under 1 Degree

Fall:  7.4 Inches per Mile  or   Falls 31 feet every 50 miles.

Sediment Load Daily: 436,000 Tons  / Day  

Sediment Load Annually: 159,000,000 Tons / Year

Watershed Area:  1.8 Million Square Miles

During the great flood of 93' the official death toll was 32 persons with a probable 50 people in total on top of an estimated $15 Billion in damages.

Presented at IAHS Conference
Destructive Water: Water-Caused Natural Disasters - Their Abatement and Control
Anaheim, California
June 24-28, 1996

The Great USA Flood of 1993
Chief, Hydrologic Research Laboratory
Office of Hydrology
NOAA/National Weather Service
1325 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Abstract. The 1993 midwest flood was one of the most significant and damaging natural disasters ever to hit the United States. Damages totaled $15 billion, 50 people died, hundreds of levees failed, and thousands of people were evacuated, some for months. The flood was unusual in the magnitude of the crests, the number of record crests, the large area impacted, and the length of the time the flood was an issue.
For full report view source file at:

  • Links: 

Mississippi River Watch

Mississippi Valley Division  1928 Flood Control Act

Mississippi River Commission   est. 1879

  • Tunnel Boring

  • On-Line Calculators

  • Definitions


cap·il·lar·y  (kp-lr)
1. Relating to or resembling a hair; fine and slender.
2. Having a very small internal diameter: a capillary tube.
3. Anatomy Of or relating to the capillaries.
4. Physics Of or relating to capillarity.
n. pl. cap·il·lar·ies
1. Anatomy One of the minute blood vessels that connect arterioles and venules. These blood vessels form an intricate network throughout the body for the interchange of various substances, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, between blood and tissue cells.
2. A tube with a very small internal diameter.


den·drite  (dndrt)
a. A mineral crystallizing in another mineral in the form of a branching or treelike mark.
b. A rock or mineral bearing such a mark or marks.
2. A branched protoplasmic extension of a nerve cell that conducts impulses from adjacent cells inward toward the cell body. A single nerve may possess many dendrites. Also called dendron.

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Last modified: 10/06/08