Rick Raphael's "The Thirst Quenchers" (novella, engineering, free): Managing fresh water in an energy-rich but overpopulated world
It's not a smooth story & has flaws, occasionally critical ones like:
- A device placed on snow - with snow below, & to pile above in ongoing snowfall. Placed carefully in a small dig in the snow so winds won't throw it away before new snow piles above it. What will happen to it at the time of thaw?
- Cutting a massive cave at the bottom of a straight bore dug into earth, with no consideration as to where the dug out dirt will go.
Story summary.Troy Braden & Alec Patterson, heroes of the story, are hydrologists working for US "Division of Agriculture". The overpopulated country doesn't have enough freshwater, & these are the folks that help manage the country's water inventory.
There are 2 major episodes:
- An adventure in snow, as the duo replace a faulty environment monitoring device.
- Quick engineering, on a massive scale, to recover the water lost in a breach in a reservoir - breach triggered by an earthquake.
Fact sheet.First published: Analog, September 1963.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, Feedbooks.
Among the stories edited by John Campbell for Astounding/Analog.
Related: Stories of Rick Raphael.