The decomposing carcass of a cow on a barren plain; a sail boat and the dock it is tied to dry rotting in a field where a lake once offered an abundant wellspring of fresh water; a rust-colored, dust covered irrigation pump standing lonely on a parched stretch of desolate land where crops once flourished—these are but a few images of Texas’ terrible drought captured on film and available for viewing this week beneath the Capitol building's gilded dome in Austin.

This testament of photos and the message they carry about the long running drought in Texas opens Monday, Oct. 28, and will remain in place at the Capitol through Friday, Nov. 1, for public viewing. The exhibit is a joint project of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TAD), the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) designed to bring more public awareness to the crippling effects of a drought that has plagued the state for more than two years.

The “What does your Texas drought look like?” photo campaign is a visual illustration of the impacts of the Texas drought from photos submitted by Texans from every corner of the state who captured some of the best images possible of what a drought actually looks like.

 

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"I guess the impetus here is that even though Texas is still gripped in the long lasting effects of drought it really started back in early 2011 when some of the highest temperatures and worst wildfires and driest conditions ever assailed the state. Things continue to be really bad with most of the reservoirs in the western half of the state still extremely low. The idea was to capture what this drought looks like to help spread awareness of the seriousness and the absolute desolation it has caused to agriculture, wildlife, and human life," said Tom Harvey, branch chief and information officer for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) in Austin.

Harvey said a large segment of the population, like those living in urban areas, really don't know the seriousness of "the drought that plagues us" and by capturing the devastation in photos, the consensus of opinion of the three participating state agencies "is that people may understand the need to conserve our natural resources and just how important the issue of water is to us all."