Our water resources don’t just consist of natural pathways. In the broadest sense, all of the water in Travis County, in every capacity, is a part of our water resource inventory. This includes all the urban storm water management infrastructure, public drinking water sources, treatment and distribution, private water well sources of water, landscape irrigation, and wastewater collection, treatment and disposal.

Storm Water Pollution

Storm water runoff can degrade water quality and our local ground and surface water resources are particularly vulnerable due to their proximity to a rapidly urbanizing landscape. Storm water runoff occurs when rain is not absorbed immediately into the ground but instead flows across the ground, into gutters, storm sewers, and ditches. As the storm water flows across surfaces, it picks up large amounts of dust, soot, silt, chemicals, oils, greases, and eroded earth. The timing and characteristics of runoff is greatly affected by impervious cover associated with an urban landscape. This runoff eventually enters our water supply, either by discharging directly into our creeks, rivers, and lakes, or by entering our aquifers through recharge features. Common pollutants include those associated with motor vehicle use (toxic metals and fluids, crankcase oil, petroleum), suspended solids, E. coli bacteria, pesticides, and fertilizers that promote plant growth. Pollutants in storm water runoff have been linked to a variety of human illnesses, the degradation of aquatic life, and growth of nuisance algae from nutrient enrichment of our waterways.

Impervious Cover

Impervious cover refers to land that is covered by pavement or ground surfaces so compact that rainwater can no longer be easily absorbed directly into the ground. Instead of the ground absorbing water, it runs off. As the county has grown, impervious cover has exacerbated the polluting effects of storm water runoff. Impervious cover allows more pollutants and silt to be transported by storm water faster than natural processes. It also increases the volume of runoff and its velocity and force, resulting in greater erosion, damage to streets and drainage infrastructure, streambed scouring, and flash flooding.

SWMP Staff & Contact Information

Administration: (512) 854-9383

  • Jon White, NREQ Division Director
  • Emily Ackland, NREQ Environmental Quality Program Manager
  • David Peyton, Environmental Project Manager, SWMP
  • David Kemp, Environmental Specialist Senior, SWMP
  • Robert Quinlan, Enviromental Specialist, SWMP
  • Steven Collier, Enviromental Specialist, SWMP
  • Kenneth Chadwell, Enviromental Specialist, SWMP
  • Brady Ansley, Environmental Specialist

Emily Ackland
Environmental Quality Program Manager

Weekdays: 8:00-5:00
(512) 854-9383

Environmental Hotline
(512) 854-4400

Contact information