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Watershed Sustainability

An Introduction to Watershed Sustainability

How we care for our watershed now will determine the health of rivers and streams for future generations to enjoy. But, a sustainable watershed is not just good for the environment. In the long run, it will save taxpayer money through reduced stormwater infrastructure costs. It will also improve quality of life in our watershed through increased green space and landscape beautification.

If we do not take steps now to encourage a healthy watershed, we will be susceptible to federal government intervention in the future. We feel that it is important for the community, not the federal government, to be responsible for decisions made about the river.

Polluted water in the San Antonio River harms more than just the fish and wildlife in our local area. Water that drains into the creeks and rivers in San Antonio flows all the way to San Antonio Bay. Water from the San Antonio River has direct impact on the health of wildlife in the bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Below are several key components of a sustainable watershed. These components are not mutually exclusive – they all work together to create a healthy watershed.

Components of a Sustainable Watershed

How SARA Defines Sustainability

Think for a moment about the word sustainability. What comes to mind? For most people, environmental sustainability means conserving energy and water, recycling or reducing air pollution. All of these things are essential in creating a healthy environment that can be sustained for generations to come. However, maintaining clean and healthy water in our creeks and rivers is also an essential element of environmental sustainability. SARA is dedicated to achieving a sustainable watershed through improving water quality in the San Antonio River Basin. However, we believe that sustainability must be achieved by implementing solutions that meet a set of criteria that is often referred to as “the triple bottom line”. In order to meet these criteria, sustainability solutions must:

  • Be good for the environment
  • Be good for people
  • Make sound financial sense

Threats to a Watershed

Below is a listing of some common threats to sustainable watersheds. These threats usually harm rivers by increasing contaminants in water bodies and/or increasing the volume, velocity and natural temperature of stormwater.

Luckily, there are solutions available to protect our watershed from the threats mentioned below. Stormwater management, low impact development, green infrastructure, and stream restoration are a few best management practices that the San Antonio River Authority is currently implementing on various sites and projects.

Threats to a Sustainable Watershed