Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

[LINK] "Natural Boundary / Political Boundary"

Strange Maps recently featured an alternate set of state boundaries in the United States, based on John Wesley Powell's watershed-based approach to defining political boundaries in his 1890 'Map of the Arid Region of the United States'.  "The concept reframes the Jeffersonian national grid, using drainage districts as "the essential units of government, either as states or as watershed commonwealths". Landscape+Urbanism expanded on the suggestion, contributing a few maps of which two are presented below.

John Wesley Powell, States as River Basins

This is the proposed 1890 set of boundaries.

Colorado River Basin

This shows the actual state boundaries dividing the Colorado River's drainage basin. These divisions have caused significant problems, quite apart the serious ecological degradation caused by the unlimited use of water from the Colorado River, and an ongoing dispute with a Mexico that gets hardly any water. The American states in the drinage basin in full or in part, all arid, all with rapidly growing populations, all dependent on Colorado River water, have found themselves still bound by the 1922 Colorado River Compact that many states, particularly California, see as providing insufficient water for growth. Conceivably, if the Colorado River basin was a single jurisdiction it would be better able to handle the distribution of water. Conceivably. As things stand, the inevitable straight lines--inevitable since simple--prevail, in the western United States as elsewhere. Almost all of the borders of western Canada are marked by straight lines, with the exception of the British Columbia-Alberta border that follows the Rocky Mountains for its southern extent.
Tags: borders, canada, environment, links, maps, united states
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 1 comment