Documenting The Texas Drought Through Social Media

Nearly all of Texas is in some stage of drought with no relief in sight. Three state agencies are asking Texans to submit photos of drought conditions from across the state.

Maybe you have a photo of what your vegetable garden looked like during the 2011 drought, or of what your grandparents farm looked like in the drought of the 1950s.

The Texas Water Development Board, Texas Agriculture Department and Texas Parks and Wildlife agencies want you to share those photos to document the drought.

Merry Klonower is director of communications at the Water Development Board.

“We would like to see what people have out there, because there may be some historic photos. One of the things that we have learned in dealing with drought is that there’s not a very good historical record of what has happened in Texas during droughts back in the ’50s or in the ’90s.”

Klonower says they also want current photos, both of the effects of the ongoing drought as well as water conservation efforts that Texans are implementing.

“For some people, that is native plants that they’ve got in their yard that are adapted great to this lack of rainfall. Or it may be a rainwater harvesting system or various other conservation measures. So think outside the box, show us what it looks like where you are and we would love to be able to share it with folks across the state.”

The photos are available to view on a Flickr group, called What Does Your Texas Drought Look Like.

You can also use Instagram or Twitter to share photos with the hashtag #txdrought.

Klonower says the photo-sharing idea is not a contest, but an effort to draw attention to the effect of the drought in different regions.

“We and the other two agencies will be using those photos on our social media sites, and our websites and we’ll be using them in publications. Really, we’re just using them as educational tools to show what the drought is looking like across the state.”

Currently 95 percent of Texas is in some stage of drought, with areas of west Texas in extreme drought.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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