Skip to main content

Here's a very cool map of the United States that almost represents a sort of alternate history, from John Lavey of the Sonoran Institute, a conservationist group:

A map of the United States with state borders redrawn according to watersheds
(click for larger)
Lavey was inspired to redraw the continental United States along the lines of its watersheds by 19th century geologist John Wesley Powell, who proposed that new states created in the arid west be formed around watersheds to minimize conflicts over scarce water resources. Powell's vision, detailed in a gorgeous, full-color map, never came even close to realization, though:
Map of drainage districts in the western United States
(click for larger)
Lavey explains that rail companies lobbied against Powell's plan because they preferred existing state lines, which he says allowed them to maximize revenues from the agricultural industry. Had we instead followed Powell's ideas, we might see far fewer fights over water between states today. But Lavey also explores at length many other changes that Powell's map might have wrought—and then takes things one step further by asking "what if?" and applying Powell's approach to the entire country. It's a fascinating notion of an alternate United States, one that would likely be very different from the nation we know.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:59 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site