Explore Texas’ Freshwater Resources Online

May 25, 2016

Featured, Multimedia

The Texas Freshwater Explorer provides information about local surface and groundwater such as water in Dolan Falls Preserve located in Del Rio, Texas. Photo courtesy of ©Ian Shive.

The Texas Freshwater Explorer provides information about local surface and groundwater such as water in Dolan Falls Preserve located in Del Rio, Texas. Photo courtesy of ©Ian Shive.

The Texas Freshwater Explorer is a free, online tool for policymakers, water managers, scientists, municipalities, industries, and the public. The tool, created by the Nature Conservancy (Arlington, Va.), enables users to investigate and analyze freshwater availability of local surface water and groundwater.

Users can obtain information about different policies, trends, and uses that affect the Texas water system. The tool was developed to provide decision-makers with a comprehensive look at current water management practices and ensure that water can be provided for cities, industry, agriculture, and the ecosystem, according to a Nature Conservancy news release.

The conservancy’s Texas Chapter and Global Water Team gathered datasets from local, state, national, and academic organizations to develop indicators summarizing the condition and availability of Texas’ water. According to the tool’s Website, data is synthesized using more than 20 indicator metrics grouped under six aspects of water sustainability:

  • Water quantity describes trends and patterns in water supply and use, aquifer conditions, and river flows.
  • Water quality informs about concerns, trends, and patterns in water quality parameters.
  • Ecosystem health teaches about the health of biological communities, recreation supported by healthy ecosystems, and common effects water has on ecosystems.
  • Economic productivity explains how state economies depend on water.
  • Water governance teaches about different programs that govern water in Texas.
  • Water conservation explores aspects of water use efficiency and water conservation by various sectors across Texas.
The free, online tool created by the Nature Conservancy (Arlington, Va.) provides information about freshwater in Texas such as 45% of rivers in the state have water quality impairment. Photo courtesy of Shive.

The free, online tool created by the Nature Conservancy (Arlington, Va.) provides information about freshwater in Texas such as 45% of rivers in the state have water quality impairment. Photo courtesy of Shive.

Texas has 23 river basins and 30 aquifers, and water management decisions in one area affect others. For example, some of the state’s largest cities rely entirely on nearby rivers, so decisions upstream affect many downstream. In addition, the state’s population is projected to double — reaching 54 million by 2050. Development in sensitive ecological areas can harm the entire water system, the news release says.

“It’s essential to arm decision-makers with the best information available so they can make sound choices and be good stewards,” said Laura Huffman, Texas state director for The Nature Conservancy. “This tool provides important data that can help Texans support healthy communities, a healthy environment, and a thriving economy now and in the future.”

Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

 

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