The Nation as Castle: Drawbridges at the Border?
Here’s an environmentally-friendly way to keep out the aliens, harking back to the days of medieval castles: build a moat.
That’s the proposal for a stretch of the border along Yuma, Arizona. It calls for digging a channel up to 10 feet deep and 60 feet wide through wetlands that have become dry lands, just inside the border. The dirt excavated would be used for some nice landscaping, including an elevated patrol road.
According to Reuters, the concept is backed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Border Patrol, the Yuma City Council and local residents including the Cocopah Indian tribe. Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden, who supports the project, said: "The moats that I’ve seen circled the castle and allowed you to protect yourself, and that’s kind of what we’re looking at here…What you are building is a moat, but it’s bringing the life and the wildlife back."
Even some environmental groups in Mexico, where the idea of a border wall is despised, like this proposal: "Instead of putting up walls and promoting division, we can promote security and friendship," said Osvel Hinojosa, the director of Pro-Natura, an environmental group in northwest Mexico, of the proposal.
It sounds nice, like maybe a place to picnic with the family while watching the invaders try to cross the moat.
But something is not clear yet: where will the water to fill the moat come from? The proposal, notes Reuters, seeks to restore a stretch of the West’s greatest waterway, the Colorado River, which has been largely sucked dry by demand from farms and sprawling subdivisions springing up across the parched southwest and in neighboring California.
That’s the same Colorado River whose waters are fought over not by acre-feet but practically by cubic centimeters, and not just among U.S. states but between the U.S. and Mexico.
There must be a reason why the former thriving wetland environment is now described as "desolate." As for the future, a recent report by research marine physicist Tim Barnett and climate scientist David Pierce raises the possibility of Lake Mead drying up. That’s the artificial lake behind Hoover Dam on the Arizona/Nevada border, from which the lower Colorado is fed. The report warns:
There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern United States, will be dry by 2021 if climate changes as expected and future water usage is not curtailed, according to a pair of researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.
Without Lake Mead and neighboring Lake Powell, the Colorado River system has no buffer to sustain the population of the Southwest through an unusually dry year, or worse, a sustained drought. In such an event, water deliveries would become highly unstable and variable.
But why not dream that the plan can become reality? Hope springs eternal.