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February 24, 2023

RESTON, Va. — The U.S. Geological Survey selected the Trinity-San Jacinto River Basin in Texas as the latest location for an in-depth examination of factors affecting water availability.

The study will provide information to support decision-making on improving the well-being and quality of life for citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable to impacts caused by climate change.

The Trinity-San Jacinto River Basin is the fifth in a series of at least 10 Integrated Water Science basin studies planned by USGS nationwide. The other four basins selected to date are the Upper Colorado, Delaware, Illinois and Willamette River Basins. The basin stretches from North Texas to Southeast Texas and is home to two large urban centers, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, which have a combined population of nearly 15 million. Areas of the basin are vulnerable to climate and sea level variability, which will provide USGS with the opportunity to intensively study how urban environmental and hydrological settings are impacted by climate change.

Water information is fundamental to national and local economic well-being, protection of life and property, and effective management of the nation’s water resources. The USGS works to deliver information on a wide range of water resources and conditions including streamflow, groundwater, water quality, and water use and availability. As part of that goal, the USGS is identifying a series of Integrated Water Science basins consisting of medium-sized watersheds (10,000-20,000 square miles) and underlying aquifers as focal points for intensive studies that will improve our understanding of how to address water resource challenges across the nation.  

“Bringing our Integrated Water Science activities to the Trinity-San Jacinto River Basin will help address environmental injustice in minority and low-income populations in an area now seeing significant impacts from climate change including drought and sea-level rise,” said Tanya Trujillo, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science.  

The USGS Integrated Water Science Basin studies date back to 2009, when the passage of the SECURE Water Act directed the USGS to establish a national water availability assessment. Each Integrated Water Science basin is selected to represent a wide range of environmental, hydrologic and landscape settings and human stressors of water resources to improve understanding of water availability.   

The USGS will use regionally focused, innovative data collection through the Next Generation Water Observing System to provide high-fidelity, real-time data on water quantity, quality and use. An Integrated Water Availability Assessment will provide detailed information on the status, trends and forecasts of the amount of surface water and groundwater available to support various uses in the basin.   

The Trinity-San Jacinto River Basin was selected by the USGS based on a quantitative ranking process and input from internal and external stakeholders. The studies will focus on evaluating the impacts of large urban environmental settings and high-impact weather events on water availability. 

“Integration of USGS monitoring, research and modeling in the Trinity-San Jacinto Basin will support innovation around issues that are common to many river systems of the Texas-Gulf Coast region. For example, we expect it to bolster our scientific understanding of impacts of flooding and large-scale urbanization on water availability in one of the most hurricane-prone regions of the country,” said Don Cline, USGS Associate Director for Water

The USGS will begin cataloging existing information on water availability and consulting stakeholders to identify priority monitoring and knowledge gaps this year. For more information about Integrated Water Science Basins, visit:

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