Texas Water Stories

Texas Water Stories studied and produced narratives about water in Texas’ past, present, and future. The project illustrated the diverse symbolic ties between water, environmental perception, and environmental change due to the climate crisis and shows how water is a central element of human and other-than-human environmental relations. Paul Adams from Geography interviewed ranchers and farmers in the Panhandle and West Texas which showed the various ways these populations have been resilient to changes in water availability by diversifying their farming practices. Historian C.J. Alvarez has documented the ways in which the “water border” of the Rio Grande was straightened, completely relocated, lined in concrete, and poisoned in ways that mirror social and political control. Education scholar Fikile Nxumalo worked (and continues to work) with indigenous communities and youth in Central Texas around the region’s sacred springs in ways that centered reciprocity, story, and ritual and demonstrated the value in non-extractive relationalities with water. These narratives matter not just because water has environmental and economic importance, but also because water is a topic with cross-cutting meanings. Too often scholars speak specialized languages that fail to connect with the public, which is already shaped by racial, ethnic, class, gender, income, and geographic positions. Because everyone values water, water stories are an important point of connection. However, because people value water differently, we need comparative investigations of representations of water in order to improve resiliency when facing water-related stresses. 



Team Members

Heather Houser
Paul Adams
Geography & Environment
C.J. Alvarez
Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
Fikile Nxumalo
Curriculum & Instruction