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A tribute of thanks to Texas water

As we gather around the table this Thanksgiving with our families and friends, giving thanks for good health, recent triumphs and another year past, there is something that I bet will be on everyone’s table, though on very few people’s minds.

I’m not talking about the star of the show, the turkey, or the usual side-suspects like cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie. I’m talking about water. No matter the table, at every place setting, I bet there’s a nice, tall glass of water. Whatever else you may be thankful for this year, be thankful that there is still drinkable water in this great state of ours, and that there are so many people dedicated to making sure it stays that way. Whether it comes from your tap or a bottle, we can still count on having drinking water this Thanksgiving. And that’s a privilege that we can no longer take for granted.

Yes, water can be devastating. Many times we curse it; and for good reason! This year, so many of us were the victims of torrential rains that caused such destruction during Hurricane Harvey and other extreme storms. Destruction that has caused a state-wide despair we will continue to work through for years to come – just as we worked through the recent drought of 2011-2015, when it seemed water would never return to fill our lakes or water our crops.

Water is unpredictable. Water is undependable. Water is not thankful for us. But water is life. And for that, we should give thanks.

If you just can’t do it, below are a few reasons to still give thanks to this precious resource that supports our economies, our wildlife, our earth, our selves.

1.  Water is an essential part of who we are.

And the more water you drink, the healthier your life can be. Water replenishes necessary body fluids daily, helps you shed those extra pounds and provides glowing beautiful skin at the same time. Water keeps our bodies healthy.

2.  Water = food.

That Thanksgiving meal you’re enjoying, and everything else we consume, from a big juicy burger to a crunchy piece of celery, is full of water and could not exist without it. Different proteins use different amounts of water. It’s possible to live a water-conserving lifestyle through good food choices. And if you’re into healthy eating straight out of your own garden, there are ways to save water there as well.

3.  Water inspires.

From photography that strikes awe:

View from Aransas Ferry out of Rockport, TX.

To songs that evoke emotion:

Water inspires art. And art in itself has therapeutic benefits. But don’t take my word for it, see how you feel after reading this water-inspired piece of art by one of the great poets.

4.  Water fills our world with amazing creatures.

From elephant to mouse, all creatures must gather at the watering hole. And water bodies provide habitat to many of the state’s coolest creatures. From creepy to cuddly, from ocean floor to riverbed, all of the animals that share this planet rely on us to keep water clean for them to thrive. And the longer we can keep habitats healthy, the better fighting chance we give our critter companions and the more chances we give ourselves to discover new, unique, and important species in our waterbodies.

Blind salamander at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

Mother and baby otter (via GIPHY).

Bruce Bodson of Bayou City Waterkeeper wrangles with an alligator snapping turtle. /Photo by Jim Olive.

5.  Water is fun!

Barton Springs – Austin, Texas (evening sun). Photo Courtesy of Todd Dwyer.

Ballerinas in Lake Austin water ski show (1969).

Fishing on the Llano River.

Kayaking on the Highland Lakes.

Whether you’re into swimming, skiing, fishing, kayaking,  rafting, or just floating, everyone has something they love to do that involves water.

6.  Water relaxes.

More and more studies prove that being in nature helps with mental health and eases anxiety. While a walk along a river or coast may be an obviously relaxing activity, even hitting the pause button on your busy day long enough to drink a glass of water can improve your mental health and happiness.

Slow stroll along Galveston Bay.

Whatever the experts say, there’s no denying this.

Take 10 seconds to close your eyes and just listen.

Ahhhh. Refreshing. Relaxing. Rejuvenating. This year, I give thanks for water.

Annie Kellough
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Annie Kellough

Counsel at National Wildlife Federation
A former private practice attorney, Annie uses her past legal experience to represent wildlife and bring a voice for Texas’s rivers and streams to the negotiating table. She spends her free time mentoring students and traveling as much as possible, visiting (and rafting, canoeing or just floating in) different bodies of water.
Annie Kellough
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