The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) and the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts are joining organizations across the state in a campaign to highlight the importance of voluntary land stewardship in Texas. Soil and Water Stewardship Week is April 30 through May 7, 2023, and the focus this year is “One Water.”
Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes, covering every inch of the Earth. However, what is a watershed? A watershed is an area of land that channels rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams, and rivers, eventually leading to outflow points such as reservoirs, bays, and oceans. Those bodies of water are all connected, so every drop that falls on Earth becomes part of one water.
At 268,597 square miles, Texas is the second largest state in the nation. Within Texas’ massive acreage, there are approximately 191,228 miles of streams and rivers, more than 8 million acres of inland and coastal wetlands, and more than 3 million acres of reservoirs and lakes. Every inch of land that makes up our great state is part of a watershed, which means we all live in a watershed. We are all a part of one water.
Of all the water used in Texas, roughly 40 percent is drawn from surface water sources and 60 percent from groundwater sources. We share the water in our watershed with our neighbors, livestock, wildlife, forests, and cropland, as it is all one water.
By 2070, the population of Texas is expected to nearly double, with the demand for water increasing by 17 percent. The supply of water from existing sources in Texas will be 11 percent smaller than it is today. If we do nothing, approximately four out of five Texans will face a water shortage in their cities and residences. There is no natural resource with greater significance for the future of Texans than one water.
Texas also has a vital role in contributing to international demand for goods. For almost two decades, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, has ranked Texas as the No. 1 exporter among U.S. states. Water is crucial to the manufacturing of exported goods. It is also crucial to the transportation of those goods. Texas moves 597.5 million total tons of cargo, making it No. 1 in the U.S. for maritime commerce. This would not be possible without one water.
Since 1939, the TSSWCB and Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) across Texas have been working to encourage the wise and productive use of natural resources. It is our goal to ensure the availability of those resources for future generations, so that the needs of all Texans can be met in a manner that promotes a clean, healthy environment and strong economic growth.
Your local SWCD can work with you to develop a conservation plan for your farm, forest, or ranch to improve water quality and quantity while providing resources on responsible natural resource management. These voluntary plans can be tailored to meet the conservation needs and goals of each individual landowner.
TSSWCB, SWCDs and our conservation partners are committed to working with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to conserve and protect the natural resources of Texas. As the population of the state continues to grow, maintaining the productivity of our soil and water resources becomes increasingly vital in meeting the food, fiber, and water needs for all Texans. We must do our part to protect one water.
Partnering organizations in the “One Water” campaign includes Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, AgriLife Extension, Ducks Unlimited, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council, Texas Association of Dairymen, Texas Conservation Association for Soil and Water, Texas Corn Producers, Texas Forestry Association, Texas Hemp Coalition, Texas Hemp Growers Association, Texas Quarter Horse Association, Texas Watershed Steward Program, Texas Wildlife Association, The Nature Conservancy, Upper Trinity Conservation Trust, and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.
For more information on “One Water” please visit www.tsswcb.texas.gov.