Art mimics reality in an exhibit at Durango Arts Center that portrays the effects of drought in the West and meshes with a series of talks about water, weather and the long-range environmental outlook for Southwest Colorado.
The parallel presentations converge from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the center, 802 East Second Ave., to mark the second annual collaboration between the Southwestern Water Conservation District, DAC, Mountain Studies Institute and the Water Information Program, which is sponsored by 17 water agencies in the San Juan, Animas, Dolores and San Miguel river drainages.
The dual show last year also focused on water.
This year’s multimedia exhibit, called “Sentinels of Change: Drought in the West,” opened at the DAC on Oct. 25 and runs through Nov. 16.
Effects of drought are seen in several paintings that portray river rocks left bare by dropping water levels and others that depict parched landscapes.
A painting of a hillside cluttered with standing burned trees and another showing numerous tree stumps in a dry lake bed could well have been inspired by the current landscape at Vallecito Reservoir, the focal point of the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire that swept over 72,000 acres.
The oral presentations run from 5 to 8 p.m. in the DAC theater. After opening remarks, presentations will made by:
Marcie Demy Bidwell of the Mountain Studies Institute will present research done by Imtiaz Rangwala from Western Water Assessment that covers a century of data from weather stations in Southwest Colorado.
Kristen Averyt, director of Western Water Assessment, at the University of Colorado, Boulder, will speak about the connection between energy demand and production, the availability of water and complications from changing climate.
Mike Nolan, owner of Mountain Roots Farm, in Mancos, will describe his efforts as a farmer to understand the limits and opportunities of water.
Taryn Finnessey from the water-supply planning section of the Colorado Water Conservation Board will analyze water variability and how it affects businesses that rely on water and snow.
Gregory J. Hobbs Jr., a Colorado Supreme Court justice, will talk about how current discussions of water shortages relate to state water law that is based on anti-speculation and actual need.