Monday, June 25, 2012

Between Hell and Texas

The July 2012 issue of Texas Monthly has a great series of articles on water issues in Texas - - the cover story for the special issue is entitled, The Last Drop

One of the more powerful visions of our recent drought is the commentary of ranchers.  Texans expect drought - - and we are a  tough state with even tougher people.

Ranchers were forced to feed their cattle with prickly pear cactus (after burning the pads to remove the spines).  This is how one rancher described the process in the article:

"Oh, man, the cattle get after it.  There's a problem after you burn pear for'em: they'll even it with the stickers on and that's not good.  It tears their mouth all to pieces, and it'll kill a sheep.  They get screwworms in their mouth, and then you'd better find'em and doctor'em in a day or two, or the worms'll eat their heads off."

This is a great paragraph from the article:

"Drought and dry weather are a part of our heritage as much as cowboy boots and Tex-Mex.  This was likely more evident to a greater number of Texans when the state was more rural, but, in part because of the severe impact of drought on rural areas, Texas has undergone a dramatic shift toward urbanization over the past sixty years.  In 1950 the population split between urban and rural areas in Texas was around sixty to forty; today it's almost ninety to ten.  And though the residents of our growing, thirsty cities may be more insulated from the effects of drought than their counterparts in the country, they are the very ones whose policies, routines, and expectations will determine whether our scant supply of water will be enough to go around."

Read the articles - - the entire series is very good.

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