Extreme drought conditions continue to plague southernmost Texas. From the sandy soiled coastal ranchlands to the red dirt of the western Rio Grande Valley water is becoming an increasingly precious resource. Ranch country windmills are spinning furiously to coax a trickle of water up from increasingly deep deposits far beneath the parched surface. Incessant wind and unrelenting arid conditions make it tough for the windmills to keep up with evaporation and the demands of remaining livestock and thirsty wildlife. Where water is available there is a constant parade of creatures from sleek indigo snakes to thirsty bobcats. It has been so long since significant rainfall has fallen on the region that naturally occurring ponds are but distant memories. Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is actually in better shape than many other properties as the refuge received a couple of inches earlier this year. That scant rainfall has been put to good use with the help of innovative guzzlers that collect and store some 175 gallons per inch of rain. Refuge volunteer Bob Severson helps maintain the catchment systems that dispense precious water to creatures on remote refuge tracks.
Bob Severson, "Basically what it is is a surface area of about four hundred and eighty square feet to collect rainwater. It stores in a 1600-gallon water tank, and then it is dispensed thru these little drinking basins where there is very little evaporation. So this can help us sustain wildlife thru the drought periods that we have." With the long term forecast predicting worsening drought conditions innovative ways to conserve and make the most of available water will become increasingly important. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore