HIDDEN WATERS :: DRYLAND SPRINGS

 

Hidden Waters centers on the unnoticed or disregarded, the underdog of the hydrologic cycle. From early migrations humans travelled from spring to spring. Every farm and most cities began where there once was a spring. Each one tells it’s own story about time, water and place.  Lush, bone dry, pristine, heavily altered, their narrative often contains indigenous cultural and historical importance. Serving as eyes into the earth they hold clues about the health and longevity of our water supply. As development reshapes our world and water can be had with the turn of a tap, springs have become overused and their importance forgotten. Yet they contain surprisingly influential bio-diverse ecosystems relative to their size in the landscape including 20% of endangered species in North America. Today about 85% of springs have been drained or destroyed. Those remaining exist as a significant gauge of climate change.

This project began on a springs inventory biology field trip, where I discovered a world teeming with life within a trickle of water—a single spring that held an, an entire ecosystem engaging in a complex web of interactions. I was drawn to the fragility of life in the desert and the need to protect it. For the last two years, armed with a sense of adventure, a rented GPS, a cell phone with unreliable service, and a little luck, I’ve searched for the reality behind those little blue dots on my paper maps.

These images are through time’s lens: a past, present, and a potential future, landscapes at a turning point in time, unseen.

Preservation of water is vital in dry lands, for only where there is water can there be life.