Get Involved

We need your help to reform the way Texas manages and allocates our limited water resources to protect our springs, rivers and bays for future generations. Below are some things that you can do today.

Bald Cypress Trees along Lower Sabinal River, Near Utopia Photo courtesy of Charles Kruvand

Bald Cypress Trees along Lower Sabinal River, Near Utopia
Photo courtesy of Charles Kruvand

At Home

Know where your water comes from and learn about your local streams and rivers. A 2011 poll conducted by The Nature Conservancy revealed that the majority of Americans do not know the source of their drinking water. Do you know yours? Knowing where your water comes from and how it makes its way from its natural source to your faucet is a meaningful first step towards understanding the connections between our water use and how it may affect the river or aquifer from which it comes.

Use water wisely in your daily life and learn more about what cities can do to encourage water conservation on a larger scale. By making the best possible use of our limited water resources, we can help ensure water is available to meet all needs, including the water needed to keep fish, wildlife, rivers and estuaries healthy.

Donate a water right and dedicate it to environmental flow protection. Are you a water right owner who is concerned about environmental flow protection? You can donate all or a portion of your water right to a water trust and add environmental flow protection as a use. Please email us for additional information.

In Your Community

Contact the members of your Regional Water Planning Group and advocate for the regional water plan to include the needs of all users, including water for our rivers and bays. Without considering the needs of healthy rivers and bays, the plan is incomplete and threatens our natural heritage.

At the State Level

Get involved in or stay abreast of the Environmental Flows Allocation Process, the state process for determining the flow needs for rivers and the freshwater inflows needs for our estuaries, and ways for providing those flow regimes.

Contact your State legislators and ask them to continue to allocate funds for Work Plan studies to better inform the environmental flow standards revision process that is to occur during the adaptive management phase for each bay/basin area.

Contact the Governor and TCEQ Commissioner Toby Baker to request that funding coming to Texas for coastal restoration from the RESTORE Act should be used for ecological restoration projects. Stress that the use of funds to purchase water rights from willing sellers to provide critical freshwater inflows to our bays should be the highest priority.

THANK YOU for your help! We wouldn’t be successful without you.

Senate Bill 3 Environmental Flows Process

Learn about Texas’ process to determine the water needed to maintain healthy rivers and estuaries and how we can protect or restore these flows.

Brazos River and Associated Bay & Estuary Area

The Brazos River basin is the third largest river in Texas; its watershed stretches from the New Mexico–Texas border west of Lubbock, to the Gulf of Mexico, south of Houston. TCEQ is currently considering what levels of environmental flow protection standards to adopt for this river system and associated estuary, with a final decision expected by March 2014.

Colorado & Lavaca Rivers/Matagorda & Lavaca Bays Area

In September 2012, TCEQ adopted environmental flow standards for the Colorado and Lavaca rivers and Matagorda and Lavaca bays.

Guadalupe, San Antonio, Mission, & Aransas Rivers/Mission, Copano, Aransas & San Antonio Bays Area

Despite receiving a majority recommendation from regional stakeholders, TCEQ adopted flow protection standards in September 2012 that were significantly weaker than those recommended by stakeholders. TCEQ will now apply these standards to any new water right permit they give out in the basin.

Nueces River/Corpus Christi & Baffin Bays Area

TCEQ is currently considering what levels of environmental flow protection standards to adopt for this river system and associated estuary, with a final decision expected by March 2014.

Rio Grande/Rio Grande Estuary & the Lower Laguna Madre Area

TCEQ is currently considering what levels of environmental flow protection standards to adopt for this river system and associated estuary, with a final decision expected by March 2014.

Sabine & Neches Rivers/Sabine Lake Bay Area

TCEQ adopted environmental flow standards for the Sabine and Neches river systems and Sabine Lake that are not adequate to protect a sound ecological environment. TCEQ should be considering revised standards in the near future.

Trinity & San Jacinto Rivers/Galveston Bay Area

TCEQ adopted environmental flow standards for the Trinity and San Jacinto river systems and Galveston Bay that are not adequate to protect a sound ecological environment. TCEQ should be considering revised standards in the near future.

Strategies to Keep Rivers Flowing and Bays Healthy

Threats to Environmental Flows

Projections indicate that many of the state’s estuaries could end up deprived of adequate freshwater on a frequent basis, particularly in drier years, if we do not take aggressive action to implement sufficient environmental flow protections.

Useful Links and Resources

Useful links to additional information on protecting water in rivers and flowing into bays.

Water Rights and Flows Protection in Texas

Since 1985, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and its predecessor agencies have included some level of environmental flow protections on new water rights. However, the level of protection varies widely from permit to permit, and unfortunately, over 90% of the water rights currently authorized were issued before 1985 and have no environmental conditions.

What Are Environmental Flows?

Environmental Flows are the quantity, quality and timing of water that are necessary to sustain a river, wetland or coastal zone and associated fish and wildlife.