Water Runs Downhill

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Mount Shasta, California en route to Oregon

Mount Shasta, California en route to Oregon

A letter to the editor in the September 12, 2014 San Jose Mercury-News caught my eye.  (Letter-writer’s name deleted but all you need to do is follow the link if you’re interested.)

Look north to find solution to drought

There is a simple solution to our water shortage and it is only 400 miles away from our northern border: the Columbia River. Pipes are cheap and water runs downhill. It can save our nations breadbasket and be here in a matter of months if we start using a little common sense.

<redacted>
Redwood City

I was puzzled by this sentence: “Pipes are cheap and water runs downhill.” While both claims are true, how can water running downhill have anything to do with this proposal?  Having driven north to Oregon several times I can attest to the presence of mountains near the border.  Indeed, Oregon’s Grant’s Pass is named after, well, a mountain pass.  How can we take advantage of gravity in this situation?

Grants Pass, Oregon "Water runs downhill"

 My hypothesis is that <redacted> is simply confused about geography.  Since most maps have north at the top and south at the bottom, he assumes that north to south is downhill.