The confluence of the Lower Pecos River and Independence Creek. The effect of the creek can be seen in these water jars—the jar on the left is a sample from the Lower Pecos above the confluence, and on the right is a sample from the Lower Pecos taken at the confluence.
Clean, fresh water is essential to the well-being of nearly every living thing on the planet. Without it, businesses can’t function, families can’t cook a safe meal, economies can’t grow and nature can’t flourish. The quality and quantity of this precious resource will in large measure determine who, in future generations, will thrive—and literally, who will survive.
Much of Texas has yet to recover from the drought of 2011, which was the worst single-year drought on record. Virtually every county in Texas felt its effects: The drought cost the Lone Star State $5.2 billion in agricultural losses alone, and many ranchers and farmers have continued to feel the pain. As of September 2012, drought conditions are still affecting nearly 80 percent of the state, and those conditions magnify our state’s looming predicament: a precarious water supply at a time of rapidly increasing population. Texas is projected to have about 50 million people by 2060 but our water resources will dwindle by nearly 20 percent.
It’s clear how important it is for Texas to have strategies in place that encourage responsible water stewardship. During the 2013 Texas legislative session, we’ll be focused on two things: smart planning that recognizes the water/energy nexus and securing funding for the state’s water plan. The state estimates that by 2060, water shortages will cost businesses and workers nearly $116 billion per year, so the time to act is now. But as we seek to secure adequate water supplies for the future, we recognize the need to plan with an eye on agricultural and industrial use, and continued urban development. Our systems—land, water and marine—are fully interconnected and we must respect that connection and work toward the goal of whole system conservation.
Since 95 percent of land in Texas is privately owned, the Conservancy will continue to work with landowners, local governments and business to ensure the protection of land in vital watersheds. In the last decade, we have worked alongside local governments in Central Texas to invest more than $500 million in water protection funds; we’ve also helped protect more than 100,000 acres of critical groundwater lands in San Antonio, including 21 percent of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, the most sensitive area of the entire aquifer. The health of the Edwards Aquifer is critical—it is the sole source of drinking water for more than two million Central Texans.
The Conservancy’s work benefits nearly a dozen different waterways around the state: the Devils, Blanco, Brazos, Frio, Nueces, Sabinal and Pedernales Rivers; Barton, Independence and Love Creeks, and Caddo Lake. We are committed to freshwater conservation for a simple reason: Conserving water for tomorrow is the greatest legacy we can leave for future generations.
Download Fact Sheets
Texas Freshwater (PDF)
Blanco River Project (PDF)