Agua Pura

Winners of the HCN reader photography contest

  • Christopher Brown
  • Jerry Cagle
  • Calla Kessler
  • A great blue heron perches at the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River waiting to dine on passing fish.

    Amy S. Martin
  • Boats rest on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.

    Debbie Schwartznau
  • Hoover Dam on the Arizona/Nevada border is a symbol of water issues in the West; the many challenges currently faced with the historic drought, as well as the benefits that water has provided, such as the power that lights the dam at night.

    Gary Whitton
  • Shoshi London soaks in a river-side hot spring in Colorado. In the arid West, water is mostly an issue of bare-bones survival. Soothing hot springs remind us that water can be one of life's simplest luxuries and purest joys.

    Francisco Tharp
  • Brooks romps through a puddle after an unexpected rainstorm in the high desert of Reno, Nevada.

    Billy Howard
  • An abandoned stock tank in Dome Rock State Wildlife Area, Colorado.

    Mike Bonar
  • The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah are often used as a symbol of the stark dryness of the desert. Even in winter as the water table rises and water covers the flats, it remains inaccessible to life.

    Gary Whitton


As drought continues across the West, we find ourselves newly aware of the wonder of water — the subject of this year’s photo contest. Readers submitted 100 images, seeking to capture what makes water so precious. Here, you can see our readers’ choice, the editors’ choice, an honorable mention and some other favorite submissions. To see the rest of the photo entries, visit the contest page.