Gawker's idea was to take the mountains of snow that have fallen on Boston proper and load it up in 500,000 tanker trucks and drive it here.
Yeah, right. Like we out here in the heart of the Cadillac Desert don't know a thing or two about moving H2O.
Really, if you're talking about moving water from the East Coast to the West, the only rational way is unicorns.
Imagine that as soon as each snowflake hit the ground in Boston, unicorns could transport it to Shasta Lake, California's largest reservoir -- after all, they're unicorns. Our water supply problems would be fixed, right?
Let's do the math.
The problem is that Boston's 108.6 inches of snow doesn't convert one-to-one to rainfall. Snow at different densities and wetness levels can create different amounts of water.
Gawker calculated how much it would cost to ship the snowpack in Boston on Feb. 17, but since we're already using magic, let's grab all the snow. Boston's mean temperature this winter was 27 degrees Fahrenheit in January and 19 degrees Fahrenheit in February.
At those temperatures, 15 inches of snow equate to about 1 inch of water, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. So, Boston has received roughly about 7.24 inches of "water equivalent" this winter.
Now one inch of rain over one square mile produces about 17,380,000 gallons of water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That leads to 125,831,200 gallons of water falling in one square mile. Now we're going to multiply that by 48.42 square miles, Boston's size. So, this winter our unicorns would have captured 6,092,746,704 (6 billion-some) gallons of water equivalent falling over Boston.
What did that net us?
Reservoirs are vast, so we use acre-feet to calculate their volume. Imagine a standard American football field covered with 12 inches of water. That's an acre-foot, or 325,581 gallons.
All of the snow that fell on Boston this winter would yield 18,697.93 acre-feet of unicorn-transported water. Boston's water equivalent fills only 0.4 percent of Shasta's 4,552,0000 acre-foot capacity, or enough to raise it by 4 inches.
That's not nothing. But consider the big storm we had in December. On just one day -- Dec. 11 -- 131,391 acre-feet of water flowed into Lake Shasta -- seven times as much as Boston's snow would have contributed.
How many days would it take Californians to use that sweet unicorn-transported water?
The average Californian used 72.6 gallons of water per capita per day in January, according to the Water Resources Control Board. Let's multiply that by our population of 38,332,521, according to the 2013 American Community Survey, and divide up 6,092,746,704 gallons. That comes to about 2.1 days of residential water use, and that's not counting agricultural use, which is where the real water story resides.
So, Californians, even unicorns' snow can't save us from this drought.
Lindsey Hoshaw contributed to this report.