Water Ecology

The single most critical source for the creation and sustenance of all life.

From Wikepedia:

Water is a common chemical substance that is essential for the survival of all known forms of life. In typical usage, water refers only to its liquid form or state, but the substance also has a solid state, ice, and a gaseous state, water vapor or steam. About 1.460 petatonnes (Pt) (1021kilograms) of water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, mostly in oceans and other large water bodies, with 1.6% of water below ground in aquifers and 0.001% in the air as vapor, clouds (formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in air), and precipitation. Saltwater oceans hold 97% of surface water, glaciers and polar ice caps 2.4%, and other land surface water such as rivers, lakes and ponds 0.6%. A very small amount of the Earth’s water is contained within water towers, biological bodies, manufactured products, and food stores. Other water is trapped in ice caps, glaciers, aquifers, or in lakes, sometimes providing fresh water for life on land.

Water moves continually through a cycle of evaporation or transpiration (evapotranspiration), precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea. Winds carry water vapor over land at the same rate as runoff into the sea, about 36 Tt (1012kilograms) per year. Over land, evaporation and transpiration contribute another 71 Tt per year to the precipitation of 107 Tt per year over land. Clean, fresh drinking water is essential to human and other life. However, in many parts of the world—especially developing countries—there is a water crisis, and it is estimated that by 2025 more than half of the world population will be facing water-based vulnerability. Water plays an important role in the world economy, as it functions as a solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances and facilitates industrial cooling and transportation. Approximately 70% of freshwater is consumed by agriculture.


Advanced Training
February 21, 2013 “State of Water”, by Cappy Smith, Aquatic Resource Education Specialist with TPWD

January 19, 2016 “Texas Water Management” New Training class presentation by Mike Conner.  The TWDB aquifer maps he shared can be viewed below.

Texas Waters Specialist program training via webinars: see Texas Waters Training.  Be sure to view the February 2017 webinar and powerpoint referenced there, and watch the other 3 scheduled during the year.  A very comprehensive training document is available by downloading the Exploring Water and Watersheds PDF file from this page – Texas Water Program – Exploring Water and Watersheds. In this document, learn about all aspects of water conservation as a basis for Texas Waters Specialist Certification.

Related Projects
CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.  CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow).   By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Web-site, the aim is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. This now covers all fifty states.  Join our chapter’s approved volunteer project and help do your part. For more info see http://www.cocorahs.org/

Books and Web Sites of Interest

  • The TPWD Texas Waters Program is an education outreach and certification program where TMN’rs can actively participate and earn hours.  This program provides a Texas Water Specialist Certification that entails Advanced Training and ongoing Service commitments.
  • The goal of the Lone Star Healthy Streams (LSHS) program is the protection of Texas waterways from bacterial contamination originating from livestock operations and feral hogs that may pose a serious health risk to Texas citizens. To achieve this important goal, the program’s objective is the education of Texas farmers, ranchers, and landowners about proper grazing, feral hog management, and riparian area protection to reduce the levels of bacterial contamination in streams and rivers. Read more about these Best Management Programs (BMP) at http://lshs.tamu.edu/
  • Texas Water Matters http://texaswatermatters.org/  This website is co-hosted by National Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club. They do a wonderful job of providing a lot of great up-to-date information on water issues in Texas and are one of the few groups that champion the protection of environmental flows.
  • The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment (at Texas State University) produces a weekly e-news that is excellent. You can sign up for the newsletter free of charge at http://www.meadowscenter.txstate.edu/contact/request-for-information-or-join-mailing-list.html
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) also produces a Drought Information update that you can sign up for at http://www.tceq.texas.gov/response/drought/drought_email.html
  • The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is the state agency responsible for long range planning, and funding, of reservoirs in Texas based on expected needs through 2060 and water available via aquifers and reservoirs.  A great deal of information is shared on their web site.

    • Their main TWDB web site is a good resource.  
    • Videos available on Aquifers in Texas, How do Aquifers Work, Groundwater Budget and Availability Models, and Using Groundwater Availability Models in Water Planning – are all located on this TWDB page.
    • See TWDB’s Aquifer maps over Texas county boundaries, shared during the 2016 Training Session mentioned above.
    • Their 2012 update and summary plans for all regions, including our Brazos Region G, is included in this Regional Summary document.  
    • The 2016 Approved Regional Plans, that will roll up into the State’s 2017 Plan, are available on this TWDB page. The documents are huge, so fair warning.
  • The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District covers Milam and Burleson Counties, and manages the permitting of wells to protect the future of underground aquifer supplies. See http://www.posgcd.org/  We are part of GMA (Groundwater Management Area) 12, along with 4 other surrounding districts, who are in process of defining Desired Future Conditions for this GMA. See http://www.posgcd.org/gmas/gma-12/
  • The Brazos River Authority “Clean River” Basin Summary 2012 report, dealing with water quality, is available on CD or PDF (198 pages) from this Brazos.org site web page.


Articles from Shawn Walton’s weekly nature blog in the Cameron and Rockdale newspapers.

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