My Granny was born in 1885, five years before the massacre at Wounded Knee finally settled the physical aspects of our differences with the natives. There were no gasoline powered vehicles used in combating the native people of our land.
I was born in 1936, and my mother was 26 years old. Granny was 51. Until they moved to Houston, Granny got her water from a hand-dug well in the back yard, and her brother, who lived "out in the country", also used a hand dug well, which was connected to the back porch for convenience. One could look down into these wells and see the water.
Granny never learned to drive an automobile. When my mother was growing up, she began driving at 14 so she could transport Granny. When Mom wasn't available, Granny had to hitch up a horse to her buggy and drive herself.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the media's insistence that this drought, so seemingly inconsequential to me, is the "worst of the century". Perhaps "worst" is the keyword. It's easy for me to see that springs in our limestone country which once ran freely and dependably, have begun to flow more sporadically and infrequently. Our immediate ancestors were able to subsist on the precious water which flowed so freely. In places where there was no spring, an atmospheric windmill could provide plenty of fresh water from a source only a few feet below the surface (maximum draw depth for a windmill is not quite 34').
A drought in "the old days" was much more serious than today, but the people were more flexible in adapting to it. Right here in central Texas, adobe, which is now considered an expensive fashion in the desert areas of the southwest, was once used as a building material because labor was virtually all that was required to convert your site into a usable living space. It required very little water or mechanical devices.
I think we have come to take water for granted, just as we take petroleum for granted, in fact, down south of San Antonio, a great deal of water is expected to be used for the extraction of the last dregs of gas and oil through a process called "fracking". I do not deny that we need that petroleum. For forty years at least (and much longer from people who have greater vision), we've known the resources we've squandered are becoming much more difficult and expensive to obtain.
I complain constantly about the gu'ment using that large dam they built upriver to steal our river for the use of citizens who want green lawns.....and though it's all in fun, there certainly is a tone of seriousness to it.
Water wells which once cost a few hundred dollars to drill are now many thousands, as they must go deeper and deeper to find a dependable source. This not only disturbs the natural flow of the everpresent limestone country springs, but, in the Houston area, it once caused entire subdivisions which were built on dry land to gradually subside below sea level, as the water table which supported the land was sucked up by Houston's need for water.
I think, although I hate to admit it, that this may truly be our "worst drought", because we, as shortsighted humans, cannot accept that we should learn to live with nature rather than try to conquer it and constantly demand tribute from it.
We can never do that. "The earth abides".