The United (Watershed) States of America
November 21, 2013 2:51 PM   Subscribe

What would the US look like if John Wesley Powell had succeeded in making states out of watersheds instead of arbitrary political boundaries?

Although Powell's plan only involved states west of the Mississippi, water conflicts have recently flared up in the eastern US, notably between Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

For the record, the mapmaker's priorities were to, "end up with 50 states; keep larger watersheds intact; try to locate watershed states in roughly the same geography as present-day states; maintain national borders; and try to keep state capitals in each state." The most recent update includes a map that crosses national boundaries.
posted by Copronymus (16 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Double. -- mathowie

This disregards people and population almost as much as the current borders do.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:53 PM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Very cool. Thanks for posting this!
posted by nevercalm at 2:59 PM on November 21, 2013

It's adorable how the boundary crossing map took parts of Canada and Mexico but ceded not one iota of territory to Canada or Mexico.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:02 PM on November 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Glad to see they followed the most important rule of rewriting state boundaries: keep the UP away from Wisconsin.
posted by ckape at 3:02 PM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ha! NJ *does* have the Statue of Liberty. And New York City!

...and I'd be living in Delaware so it doesn't matter.

Cool link!
posted by kimberussell at 3:05 PM on November 21, 2013

It looks like New York City has been annexed by New Jersey? NO THANK YOU.
posted by thecaddy at 3:09 PM on November 21, 2013

I'm not sure how this is any less arbitrary, seeing that, magically, he's managed to preserve the 48 contiguous states.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:13 PM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I hate to break it you, but there are "arbitrary political boundaries" north and south of the US and its watersheds there.

Ah, last link. Sorry. Never mind.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:21 PM on November 21, 2013

We'd have a series of state enforced water standards that made fucking sense.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:22 PM on November 21, 2013

Of course, this still segments up the longer rivers so it solves nothing.
posted by ckape at 3:27 PM on November 21, 2013

try to keep state capitals in each state.

Well, that didn't work.
posted by nickmark at 3:27 PM on November 21, 2013

Northern and Southern California are still stuck with each other.
posted by mcmile at 3:30 PM on November 21, 2013

I support any map that promotes the embiggening of Michigan, and doubly so the diminishment of Ohio. When do we start?

Also, it would seem, Texas would definitely be messed with under this map. And there'd be a lot more sooners.

It's hard to look at any kind of map like this and not think of college football for some reason.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:33 PM on November 21, 2013

posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:33 PM on November 21, 2013

We see these maps of the US showing alternative state boundaries or cultural divisions on a nearly weekly basis lately. Why is this suddenly a popular thing to do on the internet?
posted by Area Man at 3:41 PM on November 21, 2013

Why is "Washington" in two wholly distinct pieces separated by "Oregon"?
posted by janell at 3:51 PM on November 21, 2013

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