In addition to supplying the cleanest water of any land use, Texas forests also absorb rainfall, refill groundwater aquifers, slow and filter stormwater runoff, mitigate erosion, reduce flooding, and maintain watershed stability and resilience. Collectively, this process is known as the forest-water relationship, or watershed ecosystem services, and is valued at $13.2 billion annually.

    What is a watershed, and how does it work? Forests and Water - Helping to Meet the South's Water Needs Today and Tomorrow.

    Tour through our interactive Story Map to learn more about the role of forests in conserving water resources and sustaining them in the future.

    Forest and the Water Cycle

    Texas forests, and the products and services they provide, are constantly at risk. The state’s population is expected to nearly double over the next 50 years, resulting in an overall increase in water demand. This tremendous growth will generally occur at the expense of forests and woodlands, resources that are already under stress from the effects of weather, wildfire, and insect and disease, further impacting water quality and supply.

    Effective partnerships are vital to maintain healthy and sustainable forests, clean water, and the numerous benefits these lands provide. The Texas Forests and Drinking Water Partnership is a collaborative effort of the forest and water sector to increase understanding and communication of the importance of forests to drinking water and watershed protection. 

     + Urban Forests

    Trees and forests within urban and community areas of the state serve numerous functions, including mitigating flooding potential, managing stormwater runoff, and protecting water quality. TFS is working with municipalities to demonstrate how trees can be incorporated into green infrastructure and low impact development plans.

    Urbanization and Water Demands in Texas(PDF, 150KB)

    Urban Forests Protect Water Resources(PDF, 135KB)

     + Rural Forests

    Private land stewardship, through the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs), is one of the principle means of protecting water resources. BMPs are conservation practices designed to protect soil and water resources. Treating and protecting water at its origin, and not just at its destination, is an efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable way to provide water for Texas.

    Texas A&M Forest Service actively works with natural resource professionals, landowners, and contractors across the state to implement BMPs and practice land stewardship.

     + Publications