Surface Water Basics
The major river basins, shown here, are the basis of water planning in Texas:
In the Hill Country, major rivers include the San Antonio, Guadalupe, Blanco, Pedernales, the lower Colorado, San Marcos, and Comal rivers. Communities have developed along these river systems. Major water supply, flood control, and recreation reservoirs are Canyon Lake on the Guadalupe River above New Braunfels and the Highland Lakes reservoir system along the Lower Colorado above Austin.
Please look at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment's studies on specific Central Texas river basins:
To better plan and manage all water resources, the State of Texas initiated Regional Water Planning Groups (RWPGs) to support input and management at the local level. There are 16 RWPGs:
These RWPGs are now on the 3rd, 5-year cycle of planning for water resources management on a 50-year timeline. The current "Water for Texas 2010", Draft State Water Plan, is posted on the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) website. The details of planning in 16 regions, over 23 major river basins, 30 major and minor aquifers, and 256 counties and their villages, towns, and metropolitan areas are staggering, but one thing remains constant as noted in this quote from the plan:
“If Texans cannot change the weather, they can at least,
through sound, farsighted planning, conserve and develop
water resources to supply their needs.”
—A Plan for Meeting the 1980 Water Requirements of Texas, 1961
What are some details of the Draft 2012 State Water Plan?
- The population is estimated to grow from 25M to over 46M people in 50 years, an 82% increase.
- Our projected water demands have already begun to outstrip available water supplies, particularly for municipal supplies.
- Recommended strategies to deal with the increasing demand include improved water conservation in municipal and agricultural uses, building new large-scale reservoirs, use of groundwater, water reuse, brackish groundwater desalination, and other smaller-yield strategies.