Texas Water : Sources - compiled by Dennis Trombatore, revised 1/2008, revised 4/2011

Concerns about water -- its availability and quality -- are rapidly gaining the attention of the public, government, and researchers. In Texas, these concerns have recently been focused on issues surrounding the Edwards Aquifer (for which there is a separate guide ), but many more areas of interest are developing. Sources of information on water in Texas are wide ranging and complex. This guide will introduce you to some of the major providers of Texas water data, and help you locate publications in the University of Texas Libraries .

This will be a general guide to sources of Texas water information -- research organizations whose mission is to generate publications about water in Texas -- but remember to check the major periodical indexes for published research in journal articles detailing specific water topics that have a Texas focus.


There are several regional governmental or quasi-governmental agencies and research organizations that gather and publish data on water in Texas. A list of some of these organizations, and some general comments follow. Some of these materials will be in the Geology Library; consult the agency names as author searches in the library catalog for a more complete list of publications and library locations that might be of interest.

Austin Geological Society <http://www.austingeosoc.org/>

Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District <http://www.bseacd.org/>

Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG). <http://www.beg.utexas.edu/>

Geological Circular (GC)
TN 24 T4 T38 [report number] Geology

Report of Investigations (RI)
QE 167 T42 [report number] Geology

UT Bulletins / Publications
QE 167 U558 Geology Library

Center for Research in Water Resources (CRWR). University of Texas at Austin. <http://www.crwr.utexas.edu/>

Edwards Aquifer Authority (San Antonio) <http://www.edwardsaquifer.org/>

Edwards Aquifer Research & Data Center. Texas State University, San Marcos. <http://www.eardc.txstate.edu/>

Harris Galveston Coastal Subsidence Districts. <http://www.hgsubsidence.org/>

High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1. <http://www.hpwd.com/>

International Boundary and Water Commission United States and Mexico, United States Section. <http://www.ibwc.gov/home.html>

International Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Land Studies (ICASALS). <http://www.iaff.ttu.edu/home/icasals/index.asp>

Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). <http://www.lcra.org/>

National Technical Information Service (NTIS). <http://www.ntis.gov/>

Pecos River Watershed Protection Plan Implementation Program. Texas Water Resources Institute. <http://pecosbasin.tamu.edu/>

Rio Grande Council of Governments. Environmental Services & Special Projects Division. <http://www.riocog.org/ENVSVCS/essp.htm>

Surf Your Watershed. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. <http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/locate/index.cfm>

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). <http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/>

Here is one line leading to TCEQ. (Also see: Predecessor Agency Flowchart.<http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/about/pre_agency_flow.html>)
Texas Board of Water Engineers (1913) --> Texas Water Commission (1962) --> Texas Water Rights Commission (1965) --> Texas Department of Water Resources (1977) --> Texas Natrual Resources Conservation Commission (1993) --> Texas Commision on Environmental Quality (2002).

Texas Water Development Board. <http://www.twdb.texas.gov/>

Today, the Texas state agencies that collect and disseminate water-related data are the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). (See also Predecessor Agency Flowchart.<http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/about/pre_agency_flow.html>) These two agencies have the following genealogy:

1913 Texas Board of Water Engineers authorized
1953 Texas Water Pollution Advisory Council authorized
1957 Texas Water Development Board authorized
1961 Water Pollution Advisory Council becomes Texas Water Pollution Control Board
1962 Board of Water Engineers becomes Texas Water Commission
1965 Water Commission becomes Texas Water Rights Commission
1967 Water Pollution Control Board becomes Texas Water Quality Board
1977 Water Rights Commission, Water Quality Board and Water Development Board merge into Texas Dept. of Water Resources
1985 Dept. of Water Resources splits into Texas Water Commission and Texas Water Development Board
1993 Texas Air Control Board (authorized 1965) merges with Water Commission to form the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC).
2002 TNRCC changes its name to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

While each of these agencies issued some publications under its own name, there are several frequently requested long-running major series located in the Geology Library. These series all contain individually titled reports, but those titles are generally not accessible on UTCAT. There are several indexes which contain references to these publications, including two agency-produced computer lists which are kept on reserve at the Geology Library.

Significant state water agency publications series available in the Geology Library and their locations are:

Bulletin -- Texas Board of Water Engineers / Water Commission (1930s through 1965)
GB 1025 T4 A35 Geology Library

Circular -- Texas Water Development Board (1962- )
TC 424 T4 A3 Geology Library

Report -- Texas Water Development Board (1965- )
TWDB Reports Index <http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/>

TD 224 T4 A333 [report number] Geology

Records of Wells, Driller's Logs and Water Analyses -- Texas Board of Water Engineers
GB 1025 T4 A4 (county) Geology Library

There are a substantial number of smaller series and individually titled reports and documents produced by these state agencies. They may be found on the Libraries' catalog using the agency name as an author search, or, if the series title or report title and/or author is known, search by any of those parameters.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission. <http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/>

Texas Water Resources Institute. Texas A&M University. <http://twri.tamu.edu/>

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. <http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx>

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) . <http://www.usgs.gov/>

Another important source of Texas water data is the USGS.

Some USGS publications are also available in other libraries, such as Engineering and PCL U.S. Documents Collection. Consult the library catalog <http://catalog.lib.utexas.edu/> for holdings.

USGS government document series that include materials about water in Texas are:

Open File Reports (OFR)

Professional Papers (PP) note: particularly includes results of R.A.S.A. projects (regional Aquifer-System Analysis)
QE 75 P9 Geology Library

Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations (TWRI)
TC 177 U57A Geology Library

Water Resources Investigations (WRI or WRIR, in 2004 became the SIR series)
GB 701 W375 Geology Library

Water Resources Data: Texas
GB 1225 T4 A44 Geology Library

Water Supply Papers (WSP)
TC 801 U2 Geology Library

Note on searching for USGS publications:

The Geology Library is the primary repository for USGS publications in the University of Texas Libraries , but it is important to note that many of the thousands of USGS publications available in the Geology Library are in several major series and are not listed by individual author and title in the library catalog. To discover which publications in these series are about Texas, consult GeoRef (available to anyone at Geology Library workstations, and to UT students, faculty and staff via the indexes and abstracts on the University of Texas Libraries web page), our United States Geological Survey (USGS) Publication Guide <http://lib.utexas.edu/geo/fieldguides/usgspubguide.html>, or the USGS Publications Warehouse <http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/>. One guide of special interest for historical water information is:

Bibliography of United States Geological Survey Reports on the Geology and Water Resources of Texas 1887-1974. USGS WRI 20-75.
TD 224 T4 F729 Geology Library Reference


Brune, Gunnar M. 1981. Springs of Texas. Arlington, TX: G. Brune.
GB 1198.3 T45 B79 Geology Library

Estaville, Lawrence E., and Richard A. Earl. 2008. Texas water atlas. River books. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.
GB 705 T4 E88 2008 Geology Library

Sansom, Andrew, Emily R. Armitano, and Tom Wassenich. 2008. Water in Texas: an introduction. Texas natural history guides. Austin: University of Texas Press.
TD 224 T4 S26 2008 Geology Library

Graduate Research:

The Walter Geology Library also maintains a collection of theses written in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas, Austin. Consult the Theses and Dissertations for the Geological Sciences <http://lib.utexas.edu/geo/thesis_dissertations/index.html>. Theses in other disciplines may be consulted at PCL, and circulating copies, if any are available, are shelved in a thesis shelving area on the third floor of PCL.

Theses from schools other than UT will not usually be available in the University of Texas Libraries, but a quick check of the author or title in the library catalog will reveal if a copy is locally available. Also, some full text theses and dissertations might be located in Dissertations and Theses: Full Text <http://www.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=114> (you must be affiliated with UT to access this database off campus). If you find a thesis from a school other than UT-Austin referenced in Dissertations and Theses: Full Text that is not full text or in GeoRef, you must request an interlibrary loan of the item or purchase a copy from University Microfilms if no copy is available locally for you to borrow. This process does take time, so it is important to get an early start on such requests.


To search for journal articles and technical reports on water in Texas, you will need to consult a wide variety of reference tools, either in the Geology Library or in other library units. These databases are available to UT faculty, staff, and students.

Dissertations and Theses: Full Text. <http://www.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=114>

GeoRef : <http://www.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=158> The primary source for current research in the earth sciences. Search results can be saved to disk or printed. GeoRef's printed equivalent, the Bibliography and Index of Geology, is also available in the Geology Library reference area.

EI Compendex : <http://www.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=125> The second most comprehensive index that covers the earth sciences. The focus is on engineering and petroleum geology and geotechnical topics, with an increasing emphasis on water-related topics.

Academic Search Complete : <http://www.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=6> A large general index of scientific periodicals, and references much material readily available in the University of Texas Libraries .

Policy and Legal information: If you need information about law or policy, it would be best to consult specialized reference works about those topics for information they may contain on water law and policy. Ask for reference assistance at PCL, Public Affairs, or Law libraries for information on these topics.