The Texas Water Explorer

The Nature Conservancy created the Texas Water Explorer to summarize the current state of Texas’ surface and groundwater and to provide a resource to policy-makers, water managers, scientists and the general public. By increasing access to Texas’ water data and centralizing the scientific interpretation of trends and observations, we hope to help improve water management strategies, aid policymakers, engage a conservation constituency, and provide an important tool for water managers as they make decisions.

The Texas Water Explorer incorporates numerous state, national and academic datasets commonly utilized by water managers throughout Texas. This website summarizes and maps important information to help you understand Texas water without asserting any causal links to Texas’ freshwater challenges.

We structure the Explorer around six important aspects of Texas water sustainability and synthesize them using more than twenty indicator metrics:

Water Quantity

Explore trends and patterns in Texas surface and groundwater supply and water use, aquifer conditions and river flows.

Read Summary of Water Quantity

Water Quality

Learn about Texas water quality concerns and trends and patterns in water quality parameters.

Read Summary of Water Quality

Ecosystem Health

Learn about aspects of Texas freshwater ecosystem health, including health of biological communities, recreation supported by healthy ecosystems, and common impacts.

Read Summary of Ecosystem Health


Economic Productivity

See how local Texas economies depend on water.

Read Summary of Economic Productivity


Water Governance

Learn about the different programs that govern water in Texas.

Read Summary of Governance


Water Conservation

Explore aspects of water use efficiency and water conservation by various water use sectors across Texas.

Read Summary of Water Conservation


Access the Explorer

You can access the data and analysis in two ways: through an interactive mapping tool and through text summaries.

View maps of Texas Water Explorer indicators, create custom data reports and download many of our data files.

Explore Maps

View summaries of the information contained in the Explorer, including key observations about what the data shows in each area. The summaries can be accessed either by indicator category or by Texas’ major river basins and aquifers.

View Category Summaries View Basin and Aquifer Summaries

Explorer Team

The Texas Water Explorer is a collaboration of the Texas Chapter and the Global Water Team of The Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy is grateful to an advisory council comprised of Texas water experts who helped guide this project, identify datasets and develop the indicators. The advisory council includes representatives from the following agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations and other organizations:

  • Ceres
  • Lower Colorado River Authority
  • Meadows Center for Water and the Environment
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter
  • Southwest Research Institute
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • Texas Water Development Board
  • Texas Water Foundation
  • Texas Water Resources Institute
  • The University of Texas at Austin: Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences and Department of Integrative Biology
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Many organizations provided the extensive datasets used in creating the Explorer, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Water Development Board, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Michigan State University, International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts.

The Nature Conservancy extends our deepest appreciation to our major funders whose support of this project and The Nature Conservancy's Texas Freshwater Protection program made the Texas Water Explorer possible. These include the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Lennox Foundation and The Meadows Foundation.