Watersheds are nature's way of dividing up the landscape. Rivers, lakes, 

      Watersheds are nature's way of dividing up the landscape. Rivers, lakes, 
      estuaries, wetlands, streams, even the oceans can serve as catch basins 
      for the land adjacent to them. Ground water aquifers serve the same 
      purpose for the land above them. The actions of people who live within a 
      watershed affect the health of the waters that drain into it. 

      John Wesley Powell -- scientist, geographer, and leader of the first 
      expedition through the Grand Canyon in 1869-- perhaps described it best 
      when he said that a watershed is: 
      " that area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living 
      things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as 
      humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of the 
Cities Vulnerable to Short Water Supply  October, 2010
Source: http://www.247wallst.com
6. Fort Worth: As Fort Worth continues to grow (its population is expected to hit 4.3 million by 2060), the amount of water demand has continued to 
exceed the amount of water available through local supply.  As a result, the city, which is in Tarrant County, must rely on storage water, making the system 
much more exposed to the worst effects of prolonged drought. To remedy this problem, the Tarrant Regional Water District is trying to bring in more water 
from Oklahoma’s Red River. Oklahoma, wishing to preserve  its water sources, limits interstate water sales. Fort Worth has countered with a lawsuit, which 
is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
4. San Antonio: Bexar County, Texas, where San Antonio is located, possesses the highest rating given by the Natural Resources Defense Council 
with regards to water sustainability. This means that the area is at extremely high risk for water demand exceeding supply by 2050 if no major systematic 
changes are made.  As most surface water from lakes and rivers in Texas have already been claimed by varying districts across Texas, most counties are 
now looking at groundwater to meet future demand.  San Antonio has attempted to secure water from a number of Texas groundwater conservation districts. 
Due to legal obstacles, this has proven to be difficult.  Today, many experts, including members of the Texas Water Development Board, recommend undertaking 
a major project to ensure future sustainability, such as a desalination plant on the Gulf Coast.
2. Houston: Throughout most of its history, the city of Houston primarily drew water from the Jasper Aquifer, located along the southeastern coast of Texas. 
Over the last 30 years, the city began to suffer from dramatic rises in sea level of nearly an inch a year. Geologists eventually realized that the cause was Houston’s 
withdrawal of fresh water from the aquifer located under the city. This discovery forced city officials to use nearby Lake Houston and Lake Conroe for municipal water 
instead of the aquifer. Since 2000, Houston has been the fifth-fastest-growing city in the country, and its presence in an area with high drought likelihood makes it an 
immediate risk for serious water shortages.

Read more: The Ten Biggest American Cities That Are Running Out Of Water - 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/2010/10/29/the-ten-great-american-cities-that-are-dying-of-thirst/3/#ixzz13yhgCK3D

Spring Creek, a tributary to Rowlett Creek and the East Fork of the Trinity 
River June 21, 2003


Feb. 3, 2009

Albert Lawrence, Storm Water Utility Manager

City of Garland

Because impervious surfaces (parking lots, roads, compacted soil) do no allow rainfall to infiltrate into the soil, more runoff is generated

than in the undeveloped condition. This additional runoff can erode Spring Creek and other streams as well as cause flooding when the

stormwater collection system is overwhelmed by the additional flow. Solid wastes such as water bottles cause additional problems by clogging

the city's drainage system.  Because the water is flushed out of the watershed during the storm event, little infiltrates the soil, replenishes groundwater

or supplies stream base flow in dry weather.  Pollutants entering surface waters during precipitation events is termed polluted runoff. Daily human

activities result in deposition of pollutants on roads, lawns, roofs, etc. When it rains or there is  irrigation, water runs off and makes its way to

Spring Creek, Lake Ray Hubbard, and eventually the Houston metroplex…ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. While there is some attenuation of these

pollutants before entering the receiving waters, the quantity of  human activity results in large enough quantities of pollutants to impair

these receiving waters. Below are lab results from wet weather water samples from Spring Creek collected in 2008:


GA0801   Spring Creek at Shiloh on the south bank                  32.9683611  -96.6645555

GA0802   Spring Creek at N. Garland Ave..                            32.9597777  -96.6500555

GA0803   Spring Creek at President George Bush Turnpike      32.9547222  -96.6245555




































































Oil &







































Notes: The map shows that the Spring Creek watershed is largely residential , not industrial as many think.  Problems with water quality can, therefore, be traced to residential sources for the most part.  Year 3 samples taken in 2008 at Spring Creek included measurements of suspended solids,   pH, metals, biological oxygen demand (BOD), and other measurements.  Samples were taken during rain events which had at least 0.10 inch of rain following a  72 hour period with no more than 0.10 inch of rain.

 All concentrations were normal except for total suspended solids (TSS), and  bacterial (e.coli ).  TSS levels were slightly elevated, but not of too much concern.  E.coli concentrations, however, were high and means Spring Creek is not suitable for contact recreation such as wading or swimming.  Sources of e.coli contamination include sanitary sewer overflow, warm-blooded animal waste, and improper backup pipes in domestic homes.  Spring Creek water quality conditions are worse upstream in the cities of Richardson and Plano.  

Development standards for the Spring Creek Preserve are more stringent than other areas in Garland.  Ordinances for protecting the Preserve can be found online at http://codes.franklinlegal.net/garland-flp/

Sec. 31.106.     Special development regulations for the Rowlett and Spring Creek 100-year flood plains.

(A)     The following provisions shall apply to all proposed development within the Rowlett and Spring Creek 100-year flood plains, as more particularly described on the Albert H. Halff Associates, Inc., series April 1987 topographical maps, Project AVO-8470, Sheets 6-7, 18-20, 31-34, 45-57, 59-66 and 72-78.

(1)     Base flood elevations (BFE) for the 100-year flood event that reflect ultimate development land use throughout the watershed shall be used for design and planning of flood plain development.

(2)     Development within the flood plain shall be permitted only if it can be demonstrated that there will be no rise in the base flood elevation.

(3)     Fill volumes shall be balanced (+/- 15%) by excavation volumes to preserve overall valley storage within the flood plain.  Areas excavated shall be landscaped to restore a natural cover.

(4)     The bed and banks of Rowlett and Spring Creeks shall be left in a natural state to control erosive velocities, prevent excessive downstream discharges and preserve the natural effect of the stream.  Exceptions are permitted for major bridge crossings, public welfare and safety.

(5)     Increases to existing average velocities shall be allowed to a maximum average velocity of no greater than six (6) feet per second.

(6)     Significant stands of trees and other environmental features within the flood plain shall be preserved.


Spring Creek is a tributary to Rowlett Creek.  This web site by the U.S. 
Geological Survey Water Resources Division provides water quality and streamflow 
information for streams in Texas, including this monitoring site closest to 
Spring Creek Preserve: Rowlett Creek near the town of Sachse (STATION 08061540). 
The station is maintained in cooperation with the City of Dallas, Water 
Utilities Department. By clicking on this site, you can plot gage height 
(measurement of surface water elevation) or discharge (measurement of streamflow 
in cubic feet per second). Other information includes water quality parameters 
such as alkalinity, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, and pH. Since Spring Creek is a 
tributary to Rowlett Creek, hydrologic conditions are similar, but with a lower 
discharge rate since the further up a tributary you travel, the smaller the 
contributing watershed area for surface runoff and shallow groundwater 
discharge. The drainage area for Rowlett Creek is 120 square miles. Rowlett 
Creek is a tributary to the East Fork of the Trinity River, which eventually 
flows into the Gulf of Mexico. 
A small, spring-fed tributary to Spring Creek. An inventory of springs in the 
area is needed. 
Below is a plot of the mean annual discharge at Rowlett Creek from 1969-1998.  A 
disturbing trend is the increase in discharge in more recent years possibly due to
land clearing and coversion to industrial and residential development along with 
acres and acres of paved roads. Flashier storm peaks increase the erosion potential 
along stream banks and causes fluvial geomorphologic changes in the river system such as 
headcutting and meander widening.  The mean annual flow has generally increased 
over the 29 years of record, as evidenced in the graph. A watershed needs to 
have about 15-20 percent of its landscape free of roads and development 
(pervious versus impervious) in order to function properly....this includes 
groundwater recharge, stream equilibrium (balance of aggradation and 
degradation), near normal aquatic biological communities, normal surface  
temperatures, flood attenuation, and for functions that remain undiscovered. 
The following is information by the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources 
Nonpoint source stormwater runoff in urban areas is now a leading threat to 
water quality, and the percentage of impervious surface within a particular 
watershed has been recognized as a key indicator of the effects of nonpoint 
runoff and of future water and ecosystem quality (Arnold and Gibbons, 1996; 
USEPA,1994). The imperviousness issue has even been suggested as a unifying 
theme for overall study of watershed protection (Schueler, 1994) and as part of 
an urban ecosystems analytical model (Ridd, 1995).
Impervious surfaces can be generally defined as any material of natural or 
anthropogenic source that prevents the infiltration of water into soil, thereby 
changing the flow dynamics, sedimentation load, and pollution profile of storm 
water runoff. The growth of impervious surfaces is directly related to human 
activity and habitation through the construction of buildings, roads, parking 
lots, sidewalks, and so on. As precipitation is diverted from possible soil 
infiltration, the unfiltered flow over  the impervious surface allows 
significant increases in water runoff, as well as a rise in the acquisition and 
retention rate of chemical contaminants and sediments from anthropogenic 
sources. The subsequent surge in the in flow rate and volume in the receiving 
stream brings about an enlargement of bank-full and stream scour events and 
significantly influences the morphological structure. The in-stream and riparian
ecology is thus altered owing to changes in structural habitat and the related 
increases in sedimentation and pollution loadings (Arnold and Gibbons, 1996).
What can you do to protect your streams and watersheds?  Form a homeowners 
association, or urge your city council to implement plans to leave open space as 
well as riparian areas along streams, use best management practices or BMPs to 
reduce erosion and protect stream health, and preserve wildlife habitat in your 
watershed.  Also refer to the smart growth links on this website.

Below is a one-year plot of streamflow  from March, 2000 to mid-February, 2001. 
Discharge, measured in cubic feet per second (cfs), was very low from June 21, 
2000 until October 14, 2000. Winter rains returned with a recent flood peak of 
over 7,000 cfs in February, 2001. (Graph modified from original USGS graph for 
educational purposes). 

Watershed protection

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6
"To encourage stewardship of the nation's water resources and to celebrate more 
than 25 years of progress under the Clean Water Act, the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) is leading an "Adopt Your Watershed" campaign. Through 
this effort, EPA challenges citizens and organizations to join us and others who 
are working to protect and restore our valuable rivers, streams, wetlands, 
lakes, ground water, and estuaries." 
See the EPA Adopt Your Watershed web site

A Hydrologic Unit Code or "HUC" is an accounting system to track all of the 
Nation’s watersheds. The United States is divided and sub-divided into 
successively smaller hydrologic units which are classified into four levels: 
regions, sub-regions, accounting units, and cataloging units. Each hydrologic 
unit is identified by a unique HUC consisting of two to eight digits based on 
the four levels of classification in the hydrologic unit system. Below is map of 
HUC 12030106 with Spring Creek Preserve in green: 

Surf Your Watershed site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides 
information on watershed conditions by “HUC” or hydrologic unit code, East Fork 
Trinity, USGS Cataloging Unit: 12030106. At this site you can click on several 
sources of information, including IWI or Index of Watershed Indicators. The 
overall IWI score describes the health of the aquatic resources for this 
watershed. A score of 1 indicates Low Vulnerability to stressors such as 
pollutant loadings. Other information includes hazardous materials sites, 
information on groundwater, and other environmental characteristics of this 
watershed. Spring Creek is a tributary to Rowlett Creek, which covers about 120 
square miles in parts of seven counties. Rowlett Creek is a major tributary to 
East Fork of the Trinity River. Refer to the following url for more information: 

The Rowlett Creek watershed, which includes Spring Creek and Prairie Creek, runs 
through many cities in the north Dallas area.  Local cities worked with North 
Texas Council of Governments (NTCOG) to preserve the natural stream corridor, 
create vegetative buffer zones, lessen extreme stream velocities, and create 
uniform guidelines for runoff detention basins to reduce nonpoint source 

Water Resources Information 

WATERS  new website maps water quality  
River Network - River Network has announced  the recent launch of its new 
database information on Clean Water Act contacts by State
West Gulf River Forecast Center - National Weather Service
National Atlas of the United States - you can produce your own map to view your 

 click to enlarge

Trinity River Basin - National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA)
Animation of Daily Streamflows Maps - USGS
Water Quality in the Trinity River Basin - USGS data 1992-1995
Quality of Ground Water in Aquifer Outcrops - Trinity River Basin; USGS
U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Division 
Dallas/Ft. Worth Climatology - National Weather Service Forecast Office