Central Texans turn to prayer, music amid drought

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Even with Tuesday’s rainfall, all of Central Texas is still in extreme or severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

It’s left some people turning to prayer for more rain and others creating music to spread awareness of the situation.

Praying for rain

On Monday, a group of people stood in front of the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos and prayed for rain.

“We got farmers, ranchers, all kinds of folks here and we’re just asking the Lord to send us rain. Our aquifers are at historic lows. Our rivers are drying up. So we’ve got to have some divine help from heaven,” Jimmy Darnell said.

a group of people praying for rain in front of the Hays County Courthouse
The group said they’re praying for a slow and steady rain throughout September. (KXAN Photo/Sarah Al-Shaikh)

Darnell, a local pastor, said they are praying for a week straight.

“Elijah the prophet prayed seven times for rain. On the seventh time he prayed, the rain came. So we’re taking seven mornings to pray,” he said.

Darnell said their prayers were answered with some rainfall Tuesday. While an encouraging sign, they are praying for a lot more.

“We’re praying for drought-busting rains,” Darnell said. “By New Year’s Eve, we’d like to have 40 inches of rain.”

Darnell said the last time they did this was in 2009. He said they had 36 inches of rain by the end of that year. Darnell said they did it once and they’ll do it again.

“When you see different churches and people who don’t even go to church coming out here to pray because they know the need,” Darnell said. “There’s a sense of unity that’s really beautiful.”

Celebrating water through music

From songs of prayer to a song paying tribute to the San Marcos River, local musician Wendy Colonna, is releasing a song and music video Thursday celebrating Central Texas aquifers.

The song, titled “Inspired,” is a tribute to her husband and the natural waters.

“It’s just that beautiful cosmic experience of knowing that you’re deeply rooted in love and wanting to preserve, celebrate and care for it,” Colonna said. “Which is how I feel about this area, which is how I feel about my husband, my community and the music community.”

Colonna moved to the area from Louisiana in 2000. She said she immediately fell in love with the community and the waters of Central Texas.

Wendy Colonna
Wendy Colonna said she’s a singer, songwriter and coach to artists. (Photo: Wendy Colonna)

“For me, it’s just like the best, most blissful experience to be out by the water in my community dancing and celebrating the life that is here,” Colonna said.

She said the area is growing rapidly which is contributing to the ongoing drought.

“We have development that is using more of the water than has been typical over the years past when we’ve had droughts,” Colonna said. “So we’re facing a few different things from the climate perspective and the growth perspective.”

She said her vision with the video was to create a celebratory scene of people who live here and love these waters.

“Dancing, playing, enjoying it, and remembering why it’s so important that we all do our part in caring for these beautiful waters,” she said.

Along with her music video and song, Colonna is working on public service announcements for regional water-protecting nonprofits like the Mermaid Society of Texas and the Watershed Association.

Colonna said there would be a release party for her song at The Pershing in Austin on Thursday, Aug. 31.

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