Monthly Featured Story - September 2016 | Texas Water Development Board

The TWDB's Back-to-school Water ABC's September 2016

Summer seems to fly by even faster and hotter each year, and it's hard to believe that school is back in session! Ease into the new school year with some water ABC's. Don't worry; there's not a quiz at the end, but water is a year-round, A-to-Z subject in Texas, so study up! And there's plenty more where this came from on our website.

Aquifer storage and recovery: Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) is the storage of water in a suitable aquifer through a well during times when water is available, and the recovery of water from the same aquifer during times when it is needed. Texas currently has three ASR systems.

Basin: Texas has 15 major river basins and eight coastal basins. Each coastal basin is named according to the major river basins that bound them, and each is also bounded by a bay or other outlet to the Gulf of Mexico.

Conservation: Try it today! Help save water by taking a few small steps toward better water use habits. Check out our water conservation brochures and tips (printed copies available, too!).

Drought: While most people associate drought with periods of less than average precipitation over a period of time, there are other types of drought. Meteorological drought is associated with abnormally dry weather; agricultural drought is linked to adverse impact on crop or range production; and hydrological drought is associated with below-average water content in aquifers and/or reservoirs. The TWDB works in a variety of ways to assist Texans with their drought-related needs.

Estuaries: Estuaries, formed through the mixing of freshwater and seawater, are home to unique plant and animal ecosystems that have adapted to brackish water. Texas has seven major and five minor estuaries covering 1.5 million acres along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Flood: The TWDB developed, a tool for assisting Texans in making sound decisions on what to do before, during, and after a flooding event. Information on assessing your flood risk, flood insurance, making an emergency plan, evacuation tips, the recovery process, and more can be found on the site. also serves as a one-stop shop for statewide stream gage, weather, radar, and precipitation data.

Groundwater: Groundwater is a major source of water in Texas, providing about 60 percent of the 13.7 million acre-feet of water used in the state according to our Water Use Survey. The mission of the TWDB Groundwater Division is to collect, interpret, and provide accurate, objective information on the groundwater resources of Texas. The division is responsible for all aspects of groundwater studies in the state.

Hydrographic Survey Program: Over time, reservoirs lose capacity due to sedimentation. With population and statewide water use increasing, current estimates of reservoir capacity for statewide water planning purposes are essential. The TWDB has been authorized since 1991 to perform hydrographic surveys to determine reservoir storage capacity, sedimentation levels, rates of sedimentation, and projected water supply availability.

Irrigation metering: Through voluntary participation by groundwater conservation districts and other entities, the TWDB provides cost-share funding to implement metering as a best management practice. Precise knowledge of applied water volumes can help producers track the benefits of other best management practices, potentially leading to improved water conservation efforts. The program is administered through the competitive Agricultural Water Conservation Grants Program.

Job opportunities: Join the TWDB! We're always looking for talented new colleagues to join our agency and help make a positive difference for the state of Texas. Check out job postings on our website.

K-12 education programs: The TWDB Kids website serves as the gateway to the agency's K-12 conservation education resources and features visualization, interactive games, and other activities to help students learn about key water concepts.

Low-interest loans: We are proud to be able to offer low-interest loans through our financial assistance programs. Connect with us today to learn how we can help make your community's water infrastructure and other water quality improvement projects a reality.

Mission: The TWDB's mission is to provide leadership, information, education, and support for planning, financial assistance, and outreach for the conservation and responsible development of water for Texas.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): In 2007, the TWDB was tasked with coordinating the National Flood Insurance Program within the state. The NFIP is designed so that floodplain management and flood insurance complement and reinforce each other. The partnership is established on the provision that FEMA will make flood insurance available to the citizens of a community, provided that the community implements floodplain management regulations that meet or exceed the federal minimum requirements.

Outreach: TWDB staff and Board members are always on the go. We maintain a calendar of upcoming workshops, trainings, and events in communities throughout the state. Say hello next time we're in your area.

Population growth: According to the 2017 State Water Plan, Texas' population is expected to increase more than 70 percent between 2020 and 2070, from 29.5 million to 51 million. Every five years, the TWDB develops 50-year population projections through a comprehensive and collaborative state and local process.

Quality: The TWDB's groundwater quality sampling program monitors changes in the quality of groundwater over time and establishes as accurately as possible the baseline quality of groundwater occurring naturally in the state's aquifers.

Rainwater harvesting: Rainwater harvesting is the capture and storage of rainwater for landscape irrigation, potable and non-potable indoor use, and storm water abatement. Harvested rainwater can be particularly useful when no other source of water supply is available, or if the available supply is inadequate or of poor quality. Rainwater harvesting systems are popular among individuals and businesses, and the TWDB recognizes successful projects each year through our Rain Catcher Award program.

State water plan: The 2017 State Water Plan is based on the 16 regional water plans developed by the regional water planning groups. It provides a roadmap for addressing the state's water needs by identifying water management strategies and their associated costs for communities all across the state. The information in this plan is critical to ensuring that Texas has adequate and affordable water supplies both now and in the future. An interactive version of the plan is available.

TNRIS: A division of the TWDB, Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS) provides the most advanced level of geographic data available. Established by the legislature in 1968, it serves the general public, state agencies, academia, and the private sector as a centralized information center for natural resource, census, emergency management, and socioeconomic data. TNRIS also archives, maintains, and distributes current and historic photos and maps (the largest collection in Texas) dating back to the 1800s.

U.S. Drought Monitor: The U.S. Drought Monitor is a weekly map of drought conditions that is produced jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The TWDB's "Water Weekly" report includes the Texas map and drought-related information and can be viewed weekly.

Very Small Systems reserve: The Very Small Systems reserve was established in 2013 within the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to offer loan forgiveness (i.e. grants) to provide affordable solutions to water supply systems that serve a population of no more than 1,000. The reserve can fund project planning, acquisition, design, and construction of facilities.

Water for Texas 2017 conference: You won't want to miss this! Everyone with an interest in Texas water is invited to the Water for Texas 2017 conference, held January 23–25 in Austin, featuring topics such as innovative scientific, planning, and financial solutions to water challenges; interactive data and technology; and compelling conversations on water issues that affect all Texans. Registration is open.

Xeriscape: Outdoor water can constitute a large portion of overall residential water use, so wise landscape watering is an important place to start when looking at ways to conserve water. Xeriscape is a fantastic, drought-tolerant option that requires less irrigation (and maintenance) than a traditional landscape.

YouTube: Don't just read about the TWDB; watch our videos on YouTube. Meet our expert staff and learn about our many programs.

Zebra mussels: A destructive and invasive species, zebra mussels have, unfortunately, become more common in Texas. These small mussels cause significant damage to the environment and water supply. They spread rapidly by latching on to boats and trailers, which is why it's imperative that boaters thoroughly clean, drain, and dry their watercraft and trailers before leaving the vicinity of a lake, river, or bay.