Coalition of State Agencies extends drought photo campaign, best photos exhibited at Texas Capitol

For immediate release.  Contact: Kimberly Leggett at 512-463-5129

Austin (October 1, 2013) - The "What does your Texas drought look like?" statewide photo project has received hundreds of compelling photographs documenting the devastation caused by the ongoing drought.  The coalition of state agencies overseeing the project announced today that Texans have an extra month to submit their photos.  Additionally, the coalition is asking Texans to share photos showing the other side of the drought by documenting innovative water conservation methods and positive drought response.  The new deadline to submit photos is Thursday, Oct. 31.

Additionally, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will display some of the most compelling photos in an exhibit at the Texas Capitol from Oct. 28 through Nov. 1.

"The photo campaign has revealed the widespread scope of the Texas drought and some of the innovative ways Texans are responding.  Because TWDB takes the lead in several agricultural, municipal and industrial water conservation programs, we'd like to see even more ways Texans are saving water during the drought," said TWDB Board Chairman Carlos Rubinstein.  "Conservation of the state's water resources is a vital part of this conversation."

Texas' many diverse regions are each experiencing the drought in unique ways.  This project aims to educate Texans on the critical nature of drought and water conservation.  By providing the photographs, the public will help TDA, TWDB and TPWD create a historical archive.  The agencies believe it is important for Texans to contribute their personal photos that illustrate the creative uses of native plants, water conservation methods and other positive responses to the drought.

"Each Texan has experienced the drought's ferocity in different ways," Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said.  "Our agencies are joining forces to collect and share these stories with other Texans, as well as for the historical record for future generations to appreciate the importance of drought preparedness and proactive, voluntary water conservation.  We know citizen-led conservation efforts are our best alternative to mandated restrictions that can hurt our economy."

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 95 percent of Texas is experiencing some form of drought, and more than 64 percent of the state is suffering from severe to exceptional drought.

"With the punishing drought our state has suffered, most people know how important it is to conserve water and plan to use it wisely, and dramatic photos showing the reality of drought certainly underscore that conservation is imperative," TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith said.  "In poll after poll, Texans have consistently ranked water resources near the very top of public priorities.  It's important for people in cities, and it's important for fish and wildlife, state parks and natural habitats - everything is connected.  We all have a role to play in conserving water."

Photographs and video may be submitted to our Flickr group, What does your Texas drought look like?". This is a public webpage that anyone with an Internet connection can view, even those who are not members of Flickr.  Rules and instructions on how to share photos are available at the link above.

Photographs also may be posted to Twitter or Instagram. Please use the hashtag #txdrought when sharing your photos.  The campaign's Instagram account is texasdrought.  Tag photos with date, location and include a short description. Additionally, you can email up to three photos to TexasDrought@yahoo.com, and we will post the pictures to our Flickr page.  All user-submitted photographs must be original content.

For drought photo campaign news images, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state’s water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.

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