AUSTIN -- The toll of the Texas drought is growing. On Monday photos captured from across the state will go on display at the State Capitol, highlighting the reality Texans are facing.
“Boat docks that are dry-docked. Some of them are ironic where it says 'swim at your own risk,' and there's no water to swim in,” said Robert Mace, Ph.D. of the Texas Water Development Board.
More than 500 pictures were submitted to the campaign launched by the Texas Water Development Board, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Department of Agriculture. The photos showcase the devastation of the landscape.
One submission shows Lake Buchanan. Instead of being full of water, the lake bed is dry and looks like a field with overgrown grass and dead tree trunks. Another photo shows a rancher staring off into the dry, cracked soil of a water hole where cattle once bathed.
"This is certainly something we've seen all over Texas,” explained Mace. “I'm sure that's that person's livelihood."
Mace says the drought started in 2000, but only in the western parts of Texas. By 2011 it spread statewide. Now things are better, but the toll it took on the state’s water supply still lingers.
Birds once flocked along the Brazos River, but it's drying up. One photo submission snapped in 2011 shows what little is left.
“Drought not only impacts peoples' livelihood and water supplies for cities, but it also impacts the environment,” explained Mace.
Some of the submissions offer a glimpse at the hope people are holding on to for the future.
“As the drought continues on, then we're seeing more and more action,” said Mace.
One photo shows a group of soldiers taking out grass and installing zero-landscaping like rocks and plants that won't require much water to thrive. Mace says efforts like that are the key to keeping Texas thriving in the midst of a historic drought.
See the Texas Water Development Board's new drought website here.