Team Members: William Truitt, Carolyn Foug, Marsha Bowden, Adam Wong
Country of Origin: Texas, United States
In Water Wars, Vandana Shiva describes the possibility of water management for the use of a larger public. An integrated ecosystem and way of life exists in one part of the Rio Grande Valley where other water systems have been privatized and divided the larger landscape. As populations in dry landscapes grow, water rights cause conflict and a rush to ‘land grab’ access to viable water systems. Shiva uses Gujarat and Punjab as case studies in the problem arising between large populations, dropping water tables and the privatization of the remaining natural resources. Climate change shows, however, that water issues develop in every region, not simply in already challenged or established crisis zones.
The Latrobe Valley presents a unique landscape whereby the abundant natural resources have been historically sold for profit, first for local energy consumption and now for the global market. Water here, in fact, is an impediment to the extraction of coal for cheap energy consumption, and so large swaths of land have been de-watered, causing the water table to drop over 50 meters. The new artificial landscape, revealing the hidden ecology, does provide an opportunity to rethink the relationship of living space to water. This project re-imagines the Latrobe Valley as an interconnected hydraulic network. While the current infrastructure acts to separate uses and flows of the entire region in order to facilitate the transport of goods, a slight alteration of the larger landscape quickly transforms the region into an infrastructural space that is decidedly public and connected with the everyday living condition. Four distinct zones along a section of the valley- Sport, Morwell, Water Treatment, and Solar Pillows describe new ways in which to take advantage of the subtractive landscape.