Over the past two years, Texas Water Stories has assessed wide-ranging narratives about one of the most valuable resources in Texas: water. Alvarez has collected historical narratives about the Rio Grande along a key stretch of the US-Mexico border, Nxumalo has participated in Coahuiltecan ceremonies honoring the natural springs of Central Texas, and Adams has interviewed farmers about the declining Ogallala aquifer and subsequent shift to dry-land farming on the Southern High Plains. In this project year, we will compare “water stories” in Texas with data acquired in neighboring states as well as Canada and Mexico. Our work maintains focus on narratives about water in Texas’ past, present, and future. 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 such as drought and flooding. In this phase of the project, we will refine our research questions around valuation—that is, social processes through which people develop their understandings of water’s value.
Heather Houser (project lead – English), Paul Adams (Geography), C.J. Alvarez (Mexican American & Latina/o Studies), Tia Madkins (Education), and Fikile Nxumalo (Univ of Toronto)