Guadalupe Basin Strategy Proposals – Draft (Posted By Mike Mecke)
(These are some ideas I have proposed in our Stakeholder Committee’s report writing – they will be developed, or dropped or whatever over the next six months. Every major river basin in Texas is going through this process, so get involved locally. Anyone have any good ideas or changes? Please post them if so……. thanks, Mike
DRAFT STRATEGY PROPOSALS DRAFT
GUADALUPE RIVER BASIN & BAYS
As the population of the basin continues to grow, it becomes even more important that ALL people – from headwaters to estuary – become as conservative of their water as possible. Climate Change, it seems, as evidenced by more frequent, serious droughts and intense heat waves is more rapidly forcing these changes upon our basin and state.
Every gallon or acre foot that is conserved is one less that will be needed from the rivers in the basin, or from the aquifers and springs which feed them. Texans are just scratching the surface of maximum water conservation – we have long prided upon our being conservative people – now we must prove it again in how we manage our most precious natural resource. Agua es Vida!
Fortunately, we have numerous options or strategies available in order to improve our basin’s catchment, its rivers and the ways we affect these resources.
CONSERVATION – both agricultural, rural and urban dwellers.
RAINWATER HARVESTING – on homes, public buildings and businesses. Additionally, applications on streets, parking areas and farm and ranch lands can catch and hold rain and stormwater for recharge, human use and agricultural benefits.
RIPARIAN ZONE & WETLAND RESTORATION AND STEWARDSHIP – Proper stewardship of riparian zones on the basin’s creeks and rivers can build up the in-bank water holding capacities which serve to maintain base flows during dry periods and provide a healthy riparian habitat for both aquatic species and other wildlife. Floods are reduced and water quality improved as well as other benefits.
Restored and healthy wetlands on the rivers or on the Gulf provide not only the cleansing actions desirable for inflows and a very productive wildlife habitat, but also protection for inland communities from hurricanes.
DESAL of SEA WATER or BRACKISH GROUNDWATER
WATERSHED or “CATCHMENT” STEWARDSHIP - It is a proven fact among hydrologists, rangeland specialists and other field water personnel, that a well-managed, healthy watershed not only provides a desirable livestock and wildlife environment, but increases groundwater penetration and recharge, reduces floods and other benefits.
On many karst limestone watersheds, as are common across the Hill Country and Edwards Plateau, selective brush management and subsequent improved rangeland management, has proven to sometimes increase ground recharge and springflows. Normally, ashe juniper (cedar, mountain cedar) has been the target brush species, but in other cases water thirsty mesquite or redberry juniper control has also produced desirable hydrological benefits. There are numerous cases and studies that have given rise to these efforts from San Angelo south to San Antonio.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS – Permit buy-outs, dry year irrigation options, WW effluent dedications, riparian well buy-outs, cooperation and coordination with key riparian Groundwater Districts and Headwaters Groundwater Districts to improve and maintain spring flows, etc.