Kayaker on the San Antonio River at sunset

Current Facts

The San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) was created in 1937 by the State of Texas to preserve, protect, and manage the resources and environment of the San Antonio River Basin.

The San Antonio River running under a bridge with the San Antonio city skyline in the background
Our Governance

A 12-member Board of Directors governs the River Authority with six directors elected from Bexar County and two elected from Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties. Each elected member serves six years. Policies established by the Board are executed by the management organization under the direction of a General Manager appointed by the Board.

Map showing Bexar, Karnes, Wilson, and Goliad counties
Our Taxing Authority

The River Authority has the statutory authority to impose an ad valorem tax for use in planning, operations and maintenance activities only. Its tax is statutorily limited to two cents per $100 of assessed property valuation. The current ad valorem tax rate is set at $0.01858 per $100 assessed property valuation. The average annual tax is $40.20. The adopted FY 2020-2021 budget is $374.4 million.

Our Vision

Inspiring actions for healthy creeks and rivers.

Our Mission

Committed to safe, clean, and enjoyable creeks and rivers.

Just Cause

To harmonize the needs of people and nature through our stewardship of rivers and land.

Our Core Values
  • Stewardship
  • Integrity
  • Excellence
River Authority engineers at Converse Dam

Public safety through flood risk management is the River Authority’s priority. For more than 80 years, cities and counties in the River Authority’s District, as well as the Federal government, have relied on the River Authority’s engineering and technical expertise in flood management and risk reduction. With documented increases in the intensity and destruction of major storms, such as Hurricane  Harvey, the most cost-effective way to prepare and respond to the impact of these storms is to ensure that hydraulic and hydrology information, rainfall data, land use changes, floodplain maps, watershed master plans, and capital improvement master plans stay current.

Our efforts to keep the river safe include
  • Local sponsor with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for more than 65 years to provide project management and technical expertise on flood mitigation studies, projects, and programs throughout the San Antonio River Basin.
  • Local sponsor with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the construction of 27 flood dams in Bexar County and 13 in Karnes County. The River Authority now operates and maintains these dams.
  • Serves as Cooperating Technical Partner and Letter of Map Revision delegate for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order to locally update and maintain regulatory and non-regulatory floodplain maps throughout the River Authority’s four-county district. Providing the most up-to-date and dynamic floodplain maps and flood risk products will help individuals understand their level of flood risk.

  • Developing predictive flood modeling technology that will provide the City of San Antonio and Bexar County first responders innovative tools to avoid loss of life and protect property during heavy rain and flood events.
  • Creates and maintains watershed master plans for the San Antonio River Basin that identify areas of flood risk, water quality concerns, and green space opportunities. This critical information is intended for use by citizens and community leaders to guide investments in capital projects to mitigate flooding, inform future development decisions to help improve water quality in creeks and rivers, and ensure the health, recreational, and economic benefits of green space can be maximized.

  • Partnership with City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and 20 suburban cities in the Bexar Regional Watershed Management program.
  • Project Manager of the $384 million San Antonio River Improvements Project which was a collaboration with Bexar County, City of San Antonio, USACE, and San Antonio River Foundation to improve approximately 13 miles of the San Antonio River through the urban core of San Antonio.
  • Project/Construction Manager of the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project, a collaboration with Bexar County and City of San Antonio to build a one-of-a-kind urban greenspace located on the western edge of downtown San Antonio.
  • Perform debris removal to maintain flow capacity of waterways in Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties.
River Authority workers picking up trash along the Mission Reach

Improving the health of creeks and rivers is the River Authority’s purpose. Since the 1970s, the River Authority’s scientific leadership and targeted efforts have resulted in reducing pollution and trash in our waterways and improving water quality throughout the basin. The River Authority’s work to mitigate future threats to our waterways is more critical than ever as communities within the basin are growing rapidly. In a region whose history and culture is linked to its natural resources, protecting our creeks and rivers as we grow demonstrates stewardship for these vital resources.

Our efforts to keep the river clean include
  • The first river authority laboratory in Texas to complete and successfully obtain NELAC accreditation under the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality program.
  • Conduct water quality monitoring and assessment for State of Texas’ Clean Rivers Program (CRP) that involves sampling at sites throughout the San Antonio River Basin from Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties and generating data being used for a historical database.
  • Exceeds State’s CRP sampling requirements by collecting additional data at sites along the San Antonio River and its major tributaries.
  • Analyzing targeted growth zones to model the impact of unmitigated impervious cover. With a better understanding of the negative impact of impervious cover on water quality and flooding, area communities will be better positioned to propose changes in development codes and practices that focus on reducing threats to the health and sustainability of creeks and rivers while supporting more balanced growth options.
  • Advance Low Impact Development (LID) and green stormwater infrastructure development practices to reduce stormwater runoff, mitigate impervious cover, improve drainage, and improve water quality through commercial and residential rebate programs to incentivize the use of sustainable development practices.
  • Implement trash, debris, and dumping removal projects and litter prevention programs.
  • Provides additional data on the biodiversity and health of the San Antonio River Basin’s creeks and rivers, including Fish and Freshwater Mussel Community Composition and Riparian Habitat Assessments.
  • Work with Soil and Water Conservation Districts to advance land and water conservation practices.
  • Own, operate, and maintain five wastewater treatment plants and collection systems in northeast Bexar County as well as managing the Randolph Air Force Base wastewater system.
  • Provide contracted wastewater services to the cities of La Vernia, Somerset, Schertz, Green Valley Special Utility District, and the First Responders Academy.
  • Completed Wastewater Needs Assessment of communities within the San Antonio River Basin.
  • Provide contracted operation and maintenance of the water systems in Goliad County communities of La Bahia, Berclair, and Fannin.
A man and woman kayak on the San Antonio River.

Enhancing appreciation and stewardship through recreation is the River Authority’s goal. The quality of life and health of citizens who live in the River Authority’s District can be improved through having recreational access along creeks and rivers. Over the past decade, the River Authority has added nature-based recreational activities throughout the basin including hike and bike trails, paddling trails, picnic and camping areas, playgrounds, fishing, birdwatching, and even disc golf courses. With more access, people can develop a greater appreciation for the natural resources and quality of life benefits provided by the San Antonio River and its tributaries.

Our efforts to keep the river enjoyable include
  • Operate, maintain, and provide recreation and educational programming for the Museum and Mission Reach segments of the San Antonio River Walk and the San Pedro Creek Cultural Park in Bexar County.
  • Operate, maintain, and provide recreation programming for the SASPAMCO Paddling Trail in Bexar and Wilson counties.
  • Operate, maintain, and provide recreation and educational programming for Helton-San Antonio River Nature Park, Graytown Park, and Jackson Nature Park in Wilson County.
  • Project/Construction Manager for the Escondido Creek Parkway project in Karnes County. Will operate, maintain, and provide recreation and educational programming for the Escondido Creek Parkway when it opens.
  • Operate, maintain, and provide recreation and educational programming for the Branch River Park in Goliad County.
  • Operate, maintain, and provide recreation programming the Goliad Paddling Trail in Goliad County and support/assist the Canoe Trail Goliad organization with the annual Spring and Fall Goliad Flotilla paddling events.
  • Support efforts to enhance access, use, and cultural appreciation of the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site in Bexar County and Wilson County (the Rancho de las Cabras), the El Camino Real de Los Tejas, and other points of cultural interest connecting San Antonio to La Bahia and Goliad.
  • Promote regional approach to park planning and conservation through the development of the San Antonio River Basin Plan for Nature-Based Park Resources and support/assist communities throughout the San Antonio River Basin with parks and recreational needs.