Texas Drought

Texas weather is notorious for being changeable. Like other places in the middle of North America, Texas comes under the influence of warm Gulf moisture and frigid air from far north. The clash between the two makes for violent conditions especially in spring and fall.

Climate wise most of Texas is semiarid. Tending to be hot and dry most years. It seems Texas is in a zone of latitude which frequently changes from drought to adequate rainfall depending in large part on Pacific Ocean temperatures. The last decade has been primarily drought. Year after year the rains failed to materialize and reservoirs emptied in a predictable fashion until much of the state was subject to water rationing. In the last couple of years some communities have been importing water in trucks for drinking purposes. Even century old trees started dying from lack of water.

The drought caused major disruption for farmers and ranchers across the state. They found themselves without water or competing with cities for the remaining supplies. The result was failure of many agricultural operations, wholesale liquidation of livestock and farm equipment.

I began documenting communities In the Texas Hill Country around the turn of the millennium. Among my regular stops are popular places on the Guadalupe and Medina rivers. Over the years I have photographed both rivers dozens of times. Even in the worst of the drought some water was flowing. Then one day I drove out to a crossing on the Medina River and it was dry. It was shocking to stand in the riverbed with my tripod and camera.

For now rains have returned to recharge the aquifers. The state is no longer parched. It will be a long time before the first drought of the new century is forgotten. Water is now managed more carefully. Regardless of how well we manage resources we are at the mercy of the climate.


Author: Ken

Avid photographer and old guy technologist.