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Watershed Sustainability

An Introduction to Watershed Sustainability

Think for a moment about the word sustainability. What comes to mind? For many people, environmental sustainability means recycling, conserving energy and water, 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. We believe that sustainability is achieved by implementing solutions that balance a set of criteria that is often referred to as “the triple bottom line.” To meet these criteria, sustainability solutions must:

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

How we care for our watershed now will determine the health of rivers and streams for future generations to enjoy. Polluted San Antonio River water harms more than just the fish and wildlife in our local area. Water that drains into the San Antonio River flows all the way to San Antonio Bay where it has direct impact on the health of wildlife in the bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

However, a sustainable watershed is not just good for the environment. In the long run, it will save taxpayer money through reduced infrastructure costs. It will also improve quality of life in our watershed through increased green space, walkability, and landscape beautification.

If we do not take steps now to encourage a healthy watershed, we could 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.

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 the San Antonio River Authority 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.  The San Antonio River Authority 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 pollutants and/or increasing the volume, velocity and natural temperature of stormwater runoff that flows to the rivers.

Luckily, there are solutions available to protect our watershed from the threats mentioned below. On-site stormwater management such as low impact development, green infrastructure including stormwater parks, and stream restoration are a few best management practices that the San Antonio River Authority implements and advocates for a more sustainable watershed.

Threats to a Sustainable Watershed

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