Hidden Waters is the untold story of natural desert springs in the Western United States. They are a highly vulnerable yet essential detail of life which is unseen. My interest in springs began during a trip to the Southwest when I accompanied my friend, an ecologist on a springs inventory field trip. During that time, I discovered that an entire world teeming with vitality can live within a trickle of water. I was immediately drawn to this vulnerable yet essential detail of life which not only escapes our notice but few understand their critical importance.

Natural springs have been key to human survival as dependable sources of water since long before recorded history. Because of their importance, abundant springs became the original locations of many towns and cities. These bodies of water are minuscule compared to the vast landscapes they influence, yet they support complex ecological systems and hold vital clues to the health and endurance of fresh groundwater. About 85% of springs have now been drained, destroyed, or heavily altered. Those remaining act as a canary in the coal mine: They are uniquely able to gauge climate change and contain roughly 20% of the world’s endangered species. Desert springs are at an unseen turning point, and time to preserve these waters is running out - but seeing and protecting them may prolong their lives, and, in so doing, our own as well.