Coalition of State Agencies Extends Drought Photo Campaign, Asks Texans to Share Photos Documenting Conservation, Positive Drought Response (10/1/2013)

AUSTIN — 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 — the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)— 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 responses. The new deadline to submit photos is Thursday, Oct. 31.

Additionally, TDA, TWDB and TPWD will display some of the most compelling photos in an exhibit at the Texas Capitol from Oct. 28 through Nov. 1. Click here to get a preview of some of the outstanding photos provided by Texans from across the state.

“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.”  

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.

“The photo campaign has revealed the widespread scope of the Texas drought and some of the innovative ways Texans are responding,” said TWDB Board Chairman Carlos Rubinstein. “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. Conservation of the state's water resources is a vital part of this conversation.”

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, more than 93 percent of Texas is experiencing some form of drought, and more than 64 percent of the state is suffering from severe to exceptional drought.

Even though there have been welcome rains across parts of Texas in September, and people in cities may see some green on their lawns, it’s important to understand the drought is by no means over,” TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith said. “Lake levels remain low across much of the state, river flows are down, bay salinities are high—the picture remains serious by many measures. This project thus has an important role to remind people about the toll of drought, and it underscores the importance of water planning and conservation. 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?” at 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. 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.