There is a "hot topic" in Texas that cannot be cooled, even with water. The reason we cannot quite cool off is because our water resources are drying up! The pun might be intended, but this is not a laughing matter. The ongoing phenomenon this summer is being called the "worst drought in 50 years" by The Wall Street Journal, and locals here can wholeheartedly agree. This devastating drought is affecting crops, waterways, livestock and the timber industry, among the many businesses on a long list of them that rely, in either a big or a small way, on water.
There is also a known "ripple effect" that joins droughts, and I can see it mostly in the skyrocketing food prices at my local grocer. The price of produce, especially corn in my area, has risen at least two dollars in the past summer months. I can see why, though, because all along the roads leading to town are dead acres of dried up cornstalks. Farmers around here are stating that they have lost at least 80 percent of their crops due to this lack of water. There is a local farmers market that happens every Tuesday here in Georgetown, and this drought is at the forefront of all conversations happening between the growers.
I remember the first time I drove to Southwestern University, and along the interstate a billboard made me giggle. It read, "If we all think rain, it might happen." Where I grew up in Spring, Texas, we did not have anything close to this degree of a water issue. Sure, we had scheduled water rations and such, but out on the prairies (where I live now) we are all feeling the desperation. Friends from back home, though, are missing rain, too. It really is a problem for the whole state of Texas.
Not only are crops struggling, but also some of our distinctive landmarks in Texas are disappearing. Lake Travis, located in Austin, is at its third lowest recorded elevation level at 639.49 with normal being around 681 msl (mean sea level). The boats docked there are literally sitting in mud and artifacts that have been buried deep in the abyss for years have surfaced. Another waterway landmark that is slowly disappearing is -- shocking to say -- the Rio Grande! It is nearly gone and definitely not so grand. The fifth longest river in the United States has been reduced to a small trickling of water at its southernmost boundary, barely noticeable on the ground. First, crops, and now we are losing our waterways. What is next?
The analogy I have been making to explain the situation to friends is this: unless you are an active part in the Iraq war, you hardly know the effects it has on everything. Same with the war with water: unless you are an active part in the preservation of it, you hardly know to what extent it is needed in almost every aspect of our life -- animal life, plant life and Earth's life.
Be conscious with your water usage, whether you reside in Texas or not. If you have a scheduled watering ration, follow it. Minimize showers by using a timer to set and abide by a 25 percent reduction in your usual shower routine. Just being a conscious consumer of water is the greatest thing anyone can do! Being conscious is very simple, and very helpful!
Creedence Clearwater Revival asks, "Have you ever seen the rain?" Not in Texas, boys, not in a long time.
For more about
The Wall Street Journal's take on the Texas Drought, click here.
Dried up cornstalks, a common sight: smikes
The not so grand Rio Grande: dvd3141