WHAT IF: The United (Watershed) States of America?


United Watershed States of America


Flashback to 1879

“The story begins with John Wesley Powell, the great one-armed adventurer and geologist. He was made famous for his successful runs through the Colorado River in 1869 and 1872,” writes John Lavey in an article posted on Community Builders.  He is a land use planner out of the Sonoran Institute’s Bozeman, Montana office.

John Wesley Powell_1869_120p“But perhaps his most important legacy rests in a lesser-known deed: Proposing in 1879 that as the Western states were brought into the union they be formed around watersheds, rather than arbitrary political boundaries. This idea rested on the observation that because of an arid climate, a statewide organization decided by any other factor would lead to water conflict down the road.”

“What if the Western states were formed around watershed as Powell envisioned? What would that look like and could we speculate on what that might mean for the functioning of modern communities? And since we’re going down that road, let’s ask another what if: What if all of the American states were based around principal watershed, from coast to coast – something even Powell didn’t consider.”

To Learn More:

To download and read the complete story by John Lavey, click on United (Watershed) States of America.