Keep Texas Wild logo

Background for Teachers

Every Drop Counts - Wildlife Needs Water, Too!
TPW Magazine, July 2009

If you don't have a copy of the TPW magazine, you may print a copy of Every Drop Counts (pdf).

Water and Wildlife in Texas

Texas is growing - and so are our demands for more water. But where does that leave wildlife? Wildlife needs water every day, just like us. Unfortunately, they can't ask for more water; and they can't cut back their need for water to survive.

Our demand for water has grown steadily throughout our history. People need water to drink, for agriculture and industry. Our household use, watering lawns, leaky municipal water pipes all add to that demand.

Our individual water use is multiplied by the increase in our population. Texas' population nearly tripled from 1950 to 2000, from about 8 million to almost 21 million, and is expected to double again by 2060. Texas remains one of the fastest growing states.

The source of our water, our rivers, our streams, our springs and the aquifers that feed those springs is also the source of water for our wildlife. Wildlife needs water for survival and can't alter that need. People, however, can conserve water use.

Our primary uses for water are for irrigation, municipalities and industry. Conservation measures can reduce our demand. Improved irrigation methods and agricultural practices has already reduced some of that demand. Conservation measures and fixing leaking municipal water lines has helped. Committed conservation practices by individuals will also be needed.

Water supply needs by water use category for 2010-2060

Irrigation: commercial field crop production
Livestock: cattle ranches, feedlots, poultry farms, and other commercial animal operations
Mining: key mining sectors in the state, such as coal, oil and gas, and aggregate producers
Steam-electric: coal-fired and nuclear power generation plants
Manufacturing: industrial firms, such as food processors, paper mills, electronics manufacturers, aircraft assemblers, and petrochemical refineries
Municipal: residential, commercial (nonindustrial businesses, such as restaurants and office buildings), and institutional water users (schools and government facilities)

Source: Water for Texas, 2007. Texas Water Development Board

Will we have enough water in the future? Experts believe we'll have enough water for people to drink, but not to water our lawns, or to allow sufficient water flowing in our streams.

Consider these water facts:

Why is there a problem?

Two factors affect our water: quantity of water that is available for use, and the quality of that available water.

Protecting the quantity and quality of available water is critical for Texas. The good new is that through committed conservation efforts and planning, Texas water can provide for people and wildlife.

How Individuals Can Help

Learn more ways to help at Texas The State of Water.

Back to Top
Back to Top