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The waters that feed the springs that sustain our rivers tomorrow are underground today. These natural aquifers are the water banks that supply our cities, farms, fish and wildlife, providing more than 55 percent of our water supply. There is no more important resource for us to protect and manage wisely. Between us, we can ensure our water needs are met for all of our tomorrows.
The Texas Living Waters Project works to ensure that our aquifers are protected, and our cherished springs continue to flow.
We do this by:
Simply put, groundwater is water that is found beneath the surface of the earth. The aquifers which store groundwater are often compared to underground reservoirs; they are recharged by water percolating down from the surface and release water through springs.
According to the Texas Water Development Board, water from aquifers or groundwater provides over 55 percent of the state’s water supply. A vast majority of the groundwater (nearly 80 percent) is used to irrigate crops. Cities such as San Antonio, El Paso, Houston and Amarillo also depend, to varying degrees, on groundwater to supply homes, businesses and industries. Many rural Texans also rely on groundwater from individual wells.
Aquifers support springs that provide the majority of the water to our most beloved rivers, including the Guadalupe, San Marcos, Frio, San Antonio, Nueces and Llano, and they also sustain Austin’s Barton Springs Pool, and other popular Texas swimming holes. Many of these springs are also home to unique and often endangered animals and plants.
As pressure on our state’s limited water resource continues to grow, Texas must ensure that our groundwater resources are managed wisely in order to protect our vital aquifers and springs. In some parts of the state, groundwater is being used much more quickly than it is being replenished.
For example, the massive Ogallala Aquifer in the Texas Panhandle, which provides the majority of groundwater supplies in Texas, is being pumped at a rate six times greater than the recharge rate. Likewise, the city of Houston has been seriously impacted by groundwater pumping that has resulted in significant land subsidence. The sinking land levels have increased the frequency of flooding and have caused extensive damage to homes, roadways and other critical infrastructure costing billions of dollars.
It is imperative that moving forward, we manage these precious resources more sustainably.