COALITION OF STATE AGENCIES CALLS ON TEXANS TO SHARE FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS OF HOW THE DROUGHT HAS IMPACTED THEIR LIVES
For immediate release. Contact: Kimberly Leggett at 512-463-5129
Public awareness campaign will document drought's impact through personal photos
AUSTIN - (August 5, 2013) - What does your Texas drought look like? With more than 97 percent of Texas suffering from drought conditions, that's what the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and Texas Department of Agriculture want to know. This coalition of state agencies today launched an interactive public awareness campaign inviting Texans to submit personal photos capturing what the drought looks like for them and how it has impacted their lives.
From now until September 30, 2013, Texans are invited to share their original photographs of the drought on Flickr, Instagram and other social media platforms. Photos should illustrate how the drought is affecting daily life-whether it is dry creek beds, withered crops, native plants flourishing in the dry climate or the innovative water conservation measures Texans are using to combat drought.
"This current Texas drought, which started in 2010, has proven in many ways to be our worst drought in history. In fact, it has surpassed the Dust Bowl of the 1930s," Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. "Each Texan has experienced the drought's ferocity in different ways and these 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."
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 garner an in-depth view of local drought conditions, ultimately helping manage and conserve the state's water resources.
"At the Texas Water Development Board, we're well acquainted with the effects of drought on our state," said TWDB Executive Administrator Melanie Callahan. "It affects water supplies for cities and agriculture alike, and can devastate economies and natural resources. This photo campaign is a way for Texans to document how drought affects them personally. Showing the results of water shortages and ways to conserve are equally important parts of this story."
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly the entire state of Texas is experiencing some form of drought, and more than 65 percent of the state is suffering from severe to exceptional drought. The state water plan dictates nearly 25 percent of our future water needs will be met through water conservation.
"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," said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. "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 may be submitted to our Flickr group, "What does your Texas drought look like?" at http://www.flickr.com/groups/texasdrought. This is a public webpage that anyone with an Internet connection can view, even those who are not members of Flickr. The Flickr page above provides instructions on how to share photos.
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 and 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 the Flickr group page. All user-submitted photographs must be original.
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.