State agencies ask Texans to document ongoing drought
Aug. 27, 2013 at 3:27 a.m.
From dry, cracking riverbeds to thirsty row crops, on to browning pastures and more, Texas' ongoing drought has had impacts throughout the Lone Star State.
And now, several agencies are asking residents' help in documenting the dryness.
The Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Water Development Board and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently launched a campaign asking Texans to photograph ways the drought is affecting day-to-day life, according to a department of agriculture news release.
Shutterbugs can upload their shots via Instagram, Twitter, Flickr or email through Sept. 30.
The goal is to educate residents about the critical nature of the drought and water conservation, according to the release. The project also provides the state agencies a closer look into local conditions, helping them to better manage water resources.
Texas' current drought got its start in 2010 and, in many ways, has proven to be the worst in history, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said in the release. And citizen-led conservation efforts are a better alternative to mandated restrictions.
"Every Texan has experienced the drought's ferocity in different ways, and these agencies are joining forces to collect and share these stories with our Texans, as well as for the historical record for future generations to appreciate the importance of drought preparedness and proactive, voluntary water conservation," he said in the release.
The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates nearly all of Texas is experiencing some form of drought, and more than 65 percent of the state sits within the "severe to exceptional drought" category, according to the release.
Veronica Riehs, president of the Victoria County Farmers Market Association, said she's felt the drought's impact on multiple levels.
The lack of rain likely kept vendors away who otherwise would have joined on with this year's market, she said.
Meanwhile, at home, she said the family is just now restocking the cattle they sold off several years ago. She finds herself out feeding in the morning, she said, since there is no grass.
Her three ponds, which once held catfish, have been dry for five years now.
"It's pretty rough. I'm really worried about the water wells," she said. "But every day that it doesn't rain means we're a little bit closer to a day that it will. That's what I keep telling myself."
Those interested can post photos to Twitter or the Instagram account "texasdrought" along with the hashtag #txdrought, according to the release. Photos can also go to the Flickr group "What does your Texas drought look like?" at flickr.com/groups/texasdrought.
Additionally, people can email up to three photos to TexasDrought@yahoo.com.
All submissions should be original content and should include the date, location and a short description of the scene shown, according to the release.