Water Quality

What We Are Doing to Protect Our Water Quality

Travis County is home to some of Texas’ most iconic and environmentally-sensitive water resources, such as Hamilton Pool, the Colorado River, and the Edwards Aquifer. Proactively, we seek to preserve the high quality of all our water resources. Travis County’s Environmental Quality Program maintains an effective program to ensure that our increasingly limited water supplies are not further jeopardized.

Initiatives we undertake to keep our waters clean and flowing:

Groundwater Management

The Commissioners’ Court adopted water availability requirements in 2012 to address subdivision development. The rules include requirements on the developer to demonstrate adequate groundwater is available from the Trinity Aquifer and other groundwater sources.

Addressing Urban Storm Water Pollution

As required by the federal Clean Water Act and State requirements, in 2007 Travis County developed and implemented a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP) to comply with responsibilities of a Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The SWMP addresses Travis County’s significantly urbanized unincorporated areas by ensuring pollution prevention and reduction measures.

Development Review

A principal function of an urban county is to ensure development does not pollute our storm sewers or our streams, springs, and reservoirs. EQP undertakes technical review of public and private development proposals and inspects construction sites to ensure compliance by developers and county contractors.

Environmental Enforcement

Environmental Specialists identify and direct responsible parties to eliminate sources of pollution in the county, and refer cases to the County Attorney when compliance is not achieved. This staff carry out the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination requirement of our MS4 permit.

Water Quality Monitoring

Since 2010, the Commissioners’ Court has provided funding for monitoring of surface and groundwater resources. In 2014, routine data gathering on the water quality of area springs and streams began as did monitoring of groundwater at a closed County municipal landfill.

A multi-year study of the potential effects of sand and gravel mining of the Colorado River Alluvial Aquifer is ongoing.

Inter-Governmental Cooperation

The Travis County Commissioners executed three inter-local agreements between 2010 and 2012 to streamline regulatory roles in areas of the County where jurisdictions overlap on responsibilities to manage storm water and protect water quality. An inter-local agreement with the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is applicable in the Lake Travis watershed where LCRA implements the Highland Lakes Watershed Ordinance. Inter-local agreements with the cities of Austin and Pflugerville address storm water management in those cities Extra Territorial Jurisdictions. In each case, the inter-local agreements reduce duplication of effort by staff as well as gaps in program coverage. These agreements also benefit the regulated community in reducing confusion and multiple decision-making.

Emily Ackland
Environmental Quality Program Manager

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

Environmental Hotline
(512) 854-4400

Contact information