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.
How the River Authority Defines Sustainability
The San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) 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.