Gautier Piechotta
Architecture student
Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture
Paris, France 

Wu Di, Chinese
Architecture student  
Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture
Paris, France

PROJECT STATEMENT:

The United States-Mexico border is one of the busiest one in the world with over 1 million daily crossings – legal or illegal. Despite a long and turbulent history between these two countries and populations, by 2050 Hispanics will represent 25% of the US population. However this barrier is not only a physical wall between the two countries, but also seems to represent a fracture between America. Politics, economy or cultures are forcing people to evaluate the possibility of a binational relation, with or without wall.  

Binational problems are most often known to be link to politic, geography, territory, flows but also resources. One of this resource is the water. Indeed the water crisis is recognized nowadays as the first global risk based on impact to society and environment. For example nowadays 1 out of 10 human being in world lack access to safe water.  

The US-Mexico border suffered from various human actions and has a serious risk of running out of water or at least accelerating the drying process in all regions around it. Across history, multiples dams were built on the Colorado River, drying out the end of the river in Mexico. It is estimated that in some region like El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, potable water will run out by 2025. Particularly in this region, we can notice the emergence of binational alliance which concerns companies as well as cities leading to a strong economic development which is superior to the national average.

Chihuahuan Desert, Sonoran Desert and almost all the border area are also arid and  sunny with one of the highest solar radiation. Taking into account the location of the border region, the intervention of both countries is required to address the case of water. More especially since the situation of the region is quite unique with two adjacent oceans, meaning that authorities could prevent a water crisis in the region by implementing a desalination system. 

As suggested by certain current politics – not without some cynicism – one project is for Mexico to build a wall. Quite ironically this new wall which will be built by Mexicans workers should propose a viable resolution to the water crisis in the region, and thus this "second wall" could make American wall useless.  

It is well-known that the borders have often been made of natural separations such as water and usually those are propitious regions for cities, agriculture and economy development due to the proximity of water. The new wall project is supplying and desalinating the water from the oceans on both sides of the border to cities, deserts, maquiladoras... Irrigation could initially produce a quantity of water usable for the emergence of agriculture around that wall. On the other hand, the desert revegetation serve both human and animals living in this area.  

Among the US policy, energy and especially water is the golden egg. To benefit from the irrigation wall, the US would be forced to destroy their current wall. They would need the agreement of Mexico through a binational contract leading to the necessity of rethinking a new treaty for work immigration, sharing water and agreeing on common ground for human rights. Destabilizing the power balance, this wall could help to finally distribute resources more equally on both sides of the border according to the needs of cities, industries and farmers