U.S. Drought Doesn’t Mean Water Shortage for S.A. — But Why?

The dry La Niña weather pattern that’s been in place since 2020 shows no signs of letting up. The result: deep drought across the western U.S.

But even in drought, San Antonio is not in water crisis.

Why? San Antonio leaders — in partnership with SAWS — have created a culture of stewardship and conservation that has made our community water secure. Thanks to multiple water supplies, proven conservation programs and common-sense regulations, San Antonio’s water management is recognized worldwide as an example others can follow.

From Endangered Species to Water Security
In 1993, locals were stunned when a federal judge directed the Texas Legislature to limit pumping from the Edwards Aquifer to protect endangered salamanders. This prompted leaders, including then-Texas Rep. Robert R. Puente, to explore radically new ways to manage the region’s water.

The result was creation of the Edwards Aquifer Authority to regulate pumping. This, in turn, kickstarted development of new water sources for our growing community.

How San Antonio Manages Water Today
In 2005 and again in 2014, San Antonio adopted important conservation ordinances, including reasonable lawn watering rules, that would help cut per-person water use in half.

Now, with 15 water projects coming from nine different sources, San Antonio has averted the water crisis many cities are facing. Today, the Edwards Aquifer makes up only about half of our water supply. Plus, our community has proven it’s possible to conserve without overly harsh regulations or desert-like landscaping.

Ready for the Future
Thirty years ago, no one knew South Central Texas would become one of the nation’s fastest growing regions. But we are well-prepared for it — thanks to a philosophy of water management and conservation that was developed decades ago, and our ongoing commitment to water sustainability and affordable service.