Land management and land use directly impacts our vital water resources. Because the Trinity River provides water to greater than 40% of the Texas population, water demands place a substantial strain on this natural resource. Water demands are on the rise in the Trinity basin due to the increasing human population - particularly in urban areas.
Nearly 80% of water use in the Trinity River Basin is for municipal use in the Dallas - Forth Worth and Houston metroplexes, yet nearly 80% of the land area of the basin is rural. Population growth, aquatic and wildlife habitat loss and land fragmentation greatly affect the Trinity River because land use changes have a direct impact on the quantity and quality of water in the river.
- The Trinity River Basin is the most populated river basin in Texas with nearly 8 million people.
- The two most populated urban centers in Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, depend on the Trinity River to meet municipal demands.
- The population in Texas is projected to be 34-41 million people by 2030, which is twice as many people than in the year 2000. Significant growth will occur in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas.
Availability of clean water for domestic use and even non-potable water for irrigation and other uses in urban areas is impacted by land management practices in rural areas. When rural landowners follow Best Management Practices (BMP’s), rainfall is allowed to infiltrate instead of becoming runoff into the river. This preferred practice reduces pollutant loads and erosion, recharges groundwater supplies and prolongs reservoir supplies. Integrated stormwater management in urban areas also mitigates contaminated runoff from entering streams and when rain is managed onsite, helps to recharge groundwater supplies. The payoff?
- increased water supply to meet demand
- lower water treatment costs
- heightened community well-being
Land Use Trends
Suburbanization in the metropolitan areas of Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston continues to negatively impact creeks and tributaries in the Trinity River watershed. Fragmentation of land ownership in rural areas is on the rise in the lower basin, where properties in the <100 acres range outnumber large contiguously owned farms and ranches, resulting in loss of riparian habitat and wildlife. Rehabilitation of the waters and lands of the Trinity River Basin can be accomplished through the development of a network of partnerships with public, private and nonprofit entities that have shared interests and objectives. Trinity Waters is a leading advocate of cooperative conservation, advancing research, partnerships and on the ground projects to restore wildlife habitat and the ecological capacity of these valuable lands.