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Objectifying the Territory

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Manifest Journal, Issue 3

Author: Neeraj Bhatia

Editors: Anthony Acciavatti, Dan Handel, Enrique Ramirez

Date: 2021


“If one were to look at California’s present day hydrology, it would resemble something closer to a plumbing experiment— comprised of a series of pipelines, aqueducts, dams, levees, reservoirs, pumps, among other technologies—than a natural system of watersheds and their associated tributaries. Much of this infrastructure was deployed over the last century to transport freshwater from northern California to agricultural fields in the Central Valley as well as populations in Southern California. The ongoing drought has called into question the State’s relationship to water resources and more generally, California’s operationalization of natural systems. The tensions around water culminate at the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay, an area that encompasses approximately 1,100 square miles of land and forms one of the largest estuaries in North America. The delta discharges over forty percent of the water from the State of California into the San Francisco Bay and for this reason it has become a critical test case in territorial design thinking which has transformed the site into a hybrid of nature and technology.”

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