San Saba River Flow Restoration
The San Saba River in the Texas Hill Country is a cornerstone of the regional economy, lifestyle, and cultural identity. Water scarcity driven by more frequent and prolonged drought conditions as well as increased development have resulted in reduced streamflow and impacts to the livelihoods of the farmers and ranchers in the community as well as the fish and wildlife species that rely on the flow of the river. In the San Saba, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) has proposed protecting as endangered the Texas pimpleback, Texas fatmucket, and false spike. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has been working in the region for the past six years advancing research and science to inform water management as well as developing strategies to restore stream flow in conservation focal areas. One of those strategies, Environmental Water Transactions (EWTs), are an important conservation tool for restoring and maintaining flow in Texas rivers in the face of rising water demands and scarcity. TNC’s water transaction efforts in the San Saba have primarily focused on the reduction of agricultural water use during the irrigation season under low and critical low-flow conditions, mitigating water scarcity and creating essential aquatic habitat when it’s needed most.
* Project supports voluntary transactions to change, reduce or stop water use – either temporarily or permanently – to protect or restore water for environmental benefit
* Project restores natural hydrologic conditions to facilitate improved capture and infiltration of surface water and groundwater recharge