Let me suggest a positive narrative to the story of Texas’ great drought of 2011.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today released its latest list of communities whose water supplies are threatened as a result of the driest year on record. Topping the list is tiny Groesbeck, between Dallas and Houston, where a line of yellow pipe, built to provide an emergency supply, has become emblematic of the struggle to keep water flowing to Texas homes and businesses.
In converging on Groesbeck, reporters are doing what we always do – singling out the worst. If you tally up the latest TCEQ list, fewer than 8,000 homes and businesses, in a state of some 25 million people, are currently in the most high risk category: “Could be out of water in 90 days or less”. Fewer than 3,000 homes and businesses rank in the next most serious category: “Could be out of water in 180 days or less.”
Is Texas drought really the story of the resilience of an affluent society in the face of an unprecedented environmental insult?