Working the Range: Essays on the History of Western Land Management and the Environment

By John R. Wunder | Go to book overview

DELMAR HAYTER


12
Finding Water for a Thirsty Land: Weather Modification in Texas

Controlling the immediate environment has interested most Texans throughout time. This is caused in part by their close association with many different forms of agriculture and the great weather differences that are experienced in most years, particularly in the necessary amounts of rainfall. It has been said that everybody talks about the weather, but that no one does anything about it. This has certainly not been true for Texans. They have been especially active in rainfall augmentation and to a lesser degree in lightning suppression, hail limitation, and snowpack supplication.

The earliest humans were aware of environmental variations and appealed to supernatural forces to deal with these problems. Many of the early attempts at rainmaking were tied in with religious observances. 1 One of the earliest recorded attempts at rainmaking was that of Elijah. 2 Conditions on that occasion convinced observers there could be no doubt that rain was caused by the cloud inducer; and that it did not rain until a cloud appeared.

Many other attempts have been made since then to modify the weather. Some were reported as failures, some as successes, but the subject has always attracted interest to try anything that promised results. The possible reasons for rainfall-- such as the conclusions of battles, threats against religious

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