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Water Planning

Region L
   2005 Plan

Region L
   2001 Plan

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Region L - South Central Texas
2001 Regional Water Plan Review

Region L - South Central Texas

Basic Plan Facts
  • Population in the region is projected to more than double between 2000 and 2050
  • Total capital cost of proposed water supply measures: $4,830 million
  • Off-channel reservoirs and diversions on the Lower Guadalupe and Lower Colorado Rivers are proposed

What's at Issue?
Region L was one of only a handful of regions that included advanced conservation measures in the planning efforts for their municipalities. The San Antonio area faces major challenges because of the need to reduce dependence on the Edwards Aquifer in order to protect spring flows at Comal and San Marcos Springs and associated endangered and threatened species.

While Region L does not propose any new major dams on surface streams, it does have the distinction of having proposed water development projects that could have significant effects on more of the principal rivers and associated bay and estuarine systems of our State than any other region. Components of the Region L plan have the potential to affect the ecological health of not only the San Antonio and Guadalupe Rivers but also the Colorado. Nueces, and Lavaca-Navidad Rivers. The plan also could have affects on several of the major estuarine systems of Texas: San Antonio Bay (Guadalupe Estuary), Corpus Christi (Nueces Estuary) and Matagorda Bays. A prominent example is the proposed Guadalupe River Diversion to San Antonio. This strategy would include serious reductions in freshwater inflows to the Guadalupe estuary, and threatens endangered Whooping Cranes at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

Action Items
Here are some of the items the Region L Planning Group must address.

Conservation and Drought Management
For conservation and drought management, the plan needs to...
  • Develop consistent conservation goals across municipalities. For example, the target goal for Victoria in 2050 is 130 gallons per person per day. For that same year, San Marcos is projected to have rates as high as 190 gallons per day. The plan should include aggressive conservation goals for all municipalities to strive for.
  • Recommend additional improvements in conservation for other user groups.
  • Include accurate consumption rates in computing demand projections. The rate used for San Antonio (173 gallons/person/day) are well above the city's current average use of 146 gallons per day. Inflated demands can lead to an overemphasis on costly water projects.
  • Incorporate a sustainable (see sidebar definition) approach to the use of ground water in the region.
  • Develop drought management measures for the entire region. The Edwards Aquifer Authority has emergency drought contingency measures in place, and they are currently drafting a Drought Contingency Plan for the Edwards Aquifer region under their jurisdiction.
Environmental Flows
To secure the protection of flows for fish and wildlife, the plan needs to...
  • Include analysis of the cumulative effects of the proposed strategies on environmental flows. The health and survival of the San Antonio Bay and its estuaries along the coast depend on maintaining sufficient inflows from the San Antonio and Guadalupe rivers.
  • Include information on all the springs in the region, and the habitat that they support. Only the two primary springs of the region are mentioned - Comal and San Marcos Springs. There are many other springs in the area that have wildlife and ecological importance and should be included in the discussions.
  • Designate stream segments in the region that meet the criteria as having "unique ecological value". No segments were designated in the 2001 regional plan. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommends 20 segments for designation in this region.
To ensure that only the most economically sound water supply strategies are implemented, the plan needs to...
  • Compare the costs and benefits of the supply alternatives in a consistent and reasonable manner.

Online Resources
Regional water plan documents can be located on the TWDB website. Additional information may also be found on the region's website.

    TWDB Regional Water Planning Website
    The 2001 Region L Water Plan
    Region L's Website

The National Wildlife Federation analyzed the initially prepared plan using their Principles for an Environmentally Sound Regional Water Plan. Please contact us for more information about this analysis.