Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Intercept on America's Borderlands

With Mining the Future: Climate Change, Migration, and Militarization in Arizona’s Borderlands, The Intercept taught me something new about the wall construction on the U.S.-Mexico border: It's a water-intensive process. And that means draining water in an area that has very little.

Specifically, in Organ Pipe National Monument in Ajo, Arizona,

the water used to mix the concrete to support those walls is sucked out of a rare aquifer. According to the Arizona Republic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimates that it will need 84,000 gallons of water each day to complete the Organ Pipe project, which was awarded to Southwest Valley Constructors, a New Mexico-based firm. At a rate of roughly 1.85 million gallons per mile, 43 miles of bollard fencing “could require a total of 79.56 million gallons of groundwater,” the paper reported.

I had no idea that so much water would be needed and that it wouldn't be trucked in but rather extracted from the ground.

The ecological consequences of this work are not yet known. The Intercept suggests that it may impact:

Quitobaquito Springs, an oasis that provides the only source of natural, permanent fresh water for hundreds of species of animals. Some of those species are endangered. Others, like the Quitobaquito pupfish, exist nowhere else in the world.


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