Water is the most important natural resource in Texas. Ensuring sufficient, clean water is intrinsically tied to a sustainable future. The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation envisions a future with ample and healthy waters above and below ground that sustain rich, diverse ecosystems while minimizing effects of infrastructure on water quantity and quality throughout Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Texas of tomorrow will be very different than the Texas of the past - planning for an uncertain future is one of the greatest water challenges we face.

As the fastest growing state in the nation, by 2070 the population is expected to nearly double to over 50 million. Future Texans will be urban, demographically diverse, and more disconnected from their water sources. Future water demand projections are based on these population growth trends, taking into account state-adopted environmental flows requirements and historical drought conditions. However, climate forecasts predict that the state will experience more severe and longer droughts than ever experienced in the past. Even without accounting for the effects of climate change, the State Water Plan anticipates that water demands will exceed supplies during times of drought as early as 2020, unless we change the way we value and manage water.

The Water Program is dedicated to looking at the big questions about water and finding solution-based answers, considering climate change, a rapidly growing population, and quality of life.

Consistent with the sustainability science approach that characterizes the foundation’s grantmaking, the Water Program aims to increase the scientific understanding of water issues in the state of Texas, which informs the design of effective policy approaches to ensure that the water needs of the environment are met.

To achieve this vision, the Water Program’s five major goals are to:

  1. advance watershed scale co-management of surface and groundwater;
  2. design and promote integrated water management models;
  3. accelerate and expand environmental flows work;
  4. bolster and connect water quality work; and
  5. explore net positive water development and delivery as a new model.

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