Eric Merrell

Coachella Canal


oil on canvas on board
24 x 48 in.
(framed) 29 x 53 in.
The starkness of this canal cutting through the desert illustrates the importance of water in the West. The water is intended for crops like those to the left of the canal, which are dependent on irrigation. Everything to the right—including the lone palo verde—can survive on the little rain that falls alongside historic drought and aridification. Although this channel running along the eastern edge of the Salton Sea is used for crop irrigation, it makes me think of gutters throughout my neighborhood full of water runoff, the excess of a resource squandered on thirsty lawns and non-native plants.