Where’d the water go?

Drought news is all over the media.  Well, it is here because we’re part of it – don’t know how it’s playing around the coasts.  Agriculture is critical to the Plains and Midwest; this year’s weather is playing havoc on farmers and their support industries so we hear a lot about it.  In case you haven’t seen how bad it is, most of the time it’s portrayed with something like this:


That’s a great graphic but for me it really doesn’t bring into clarity what drought looks like.  And I don’t mean pictures of dried up crops and such.  I mean things like – THE WATER IS GONE!

For example:

Two Rivers State Park

It’s not uncommon to see people fishing right off this dock, as in standing on the dock by the rail and letting your fishing line dangle straight down into the water.  Actually, the bottom of the dock should be touching the water.  That won’t be happening for a bit.

How about strolling across a river?

Two Rivers State Park

Doubt the water ever got over their knees.  By the way, below is what this stretch of the Platte usually looks like.

Lots of water vanished.  Not sure when it’ll return.  Not only is there no rainfall expected here for weeks but the mountains that feed the Platte, Missouri and other Plains rivers are not expected to get rain either.


Last year there was too much snow in the Rockies and too much rain in the Plains – the Missouri flooded out many farmers.  This year it’s the opposite, essentially drying out many farmers.

Global climate change?  Sure.  The earth is a massive system that goes through cycles based on any number of factors and interactions.  Should we be so egotistical to assume it’s all our fault?  I’m sure some is – you can’t re-landscape as much of the earth’s surface as we have with out it having some impact on the overall system.  Is it all our fault?  Doubtful.  These cycles have operated well before man made an appearance on the planet and will continue to do so after we’re gone.  Don’t forget – in spite of all the mystical belief about earth as a living organism our planet could really care less about our existence.  It will keep on doing what it does whether we’re here or not.

So what do we do?  Pay attention and learn to deal with the cycles.  That’s a tall order given so much of our lifestyle is dependent on agricultural production that assumes constant conditions year over year, but remember – we have to adapt because the earth isn’t going to adjust its schedule to please us.

The power of photographs over graphs and maps is the ability to portray the local impact of national issues.  Grabbing someone’s attention first – “you mean that’s right here?!” – is crucial to getting them to the next step of understanding the trend and long-term impact.  Think of the great photojournalist images  you’ve seen and the subsequent actions that occur as a result of a single photograph.  Powerful stuff when used correctly.

More drought scenes later.


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