Who Does What in Texas Water
Many government agencies, local authorities, private companies, and organizations work on water and aquatic environments in Texas.
Aquatic science biologist and fisheries administrator from Texas Parks and Wildlife standing by a bridge near Austin. Photo credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife
Who does what….
- The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are responsible for monitoring water quality and for setting and enforcing water quality standards.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and various river authorities, such as the Trinity River Authority and Lower Colorado River Authority, control river flows and manage Texas’ large reservoirs.
- The Texas Water Development Board and groundwater conservation districts, such as the Red River Groundwater Conservation District and the Uvalde County Underground Water Conservation District, develop, approve, and implement groundwater management plans.
- Many other agencies have a say in matters affecting soil, water, and wildlife. These include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, the National Resource Conservation Service, the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service.
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has no direct regulatory authority over water, but has an indirect role and is responsible for protecting aquatic species. The agency’s biologists and other conservation professionals are in the forefront of developing environmental water flows and water quality strategies for streams, rivers bays and estuaries, and the Gulf. They help recover endangered and threatened species, control the spread of invasive species, regulate fishing and wildlife use, investigate fish kills and pollution spills, and ensure that Texas has adequate supplies of clean water for people, fish and wildlife.
There are others as well. There are people whose job it is to help address water right matters. There are also regional water and watershed planning groups, water authorities, local water supply districts, drainage districts, and navigation districts. People may join local, regional, or national conservation organizations that work on water matters, including aquatic habitat and species protection. These organizations’ members often raise money for protection projects and advocate for sound conservation policies and laws before state and local elected officials and the U.S. Congress.