The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment (formerly River Systems Institute) website provides information about water resources in the Hill Country as compiled information, data, resources and links.  A tremendous amount of information can be found on different websites but is not always easy to locate for a broad view of water resources and management.  These online resources and organizations are linked throughout this web site.  Thus, this web site is intended as a compilation of available information and a resource to better understand water resources in the Hill Country.

While development of the site will continue over the next several months, the initial primary focus is on groundwater – its impact on daily life, basic information about aquifers underlying the hills and valley and creeks, and how groundwater is managed in the Hill Country and throughout Texas.  You will find web pages on:

  • The basics of groundwater; its part in the hydrologic cycle, the importance of the soil and rock types that it flows through, and related information
  • Information and data about two aquifers, the Trinity and the Edwards systems, that are a part of life in the Hill Country
  • Springs and three that are part of the Hill Country’s naturally treasured resources
  • An overview of how groundwater is generally managed in Texas
  • An economic valuation study around the Wimberley Valley area
  • Water stewardship and learning more about working with limited natural and water resources
  • Connecting groundwater to the land surface through information about two Hill Country watersheds
  • Drought and links to web sites that are currently tracking its impacts
  • Other resources and a glossary of terms


This ongoing project expands the groundwork that was developed through the 2010 project, “Understanding the Hill Country Groundwater Resources”. The Meadows Center is focusing on three major tasks, outlined below:

1.      Quantifying the economic contribution of Cypress Creek to the regional economy

Objective 1 Conduct economic analyses to better understand and quantify the economic contribution of Cypress Creek to the tourism-based economy in Wimberley.
Objective 2 Package compiled and developed methodologies, Year One outcomes, recommendations and relevant resources for assessing economic relationships in the Hill Country in a format that will facilitate expansion to other areas in the Hill Country.



2.      Raise the profile of Hill Country Water Resources through website expansion, development of tools to evaluate the feasibility of large scale rainwater harvesting systems, and preparation of a Blanco River watershed atlas

Objective 1 Additional research and available information will be compiled from various sources and will be added as website content. Additional resources and partners will be identified and linked to the site. Drought and climate change information will be emphasized, as will regional watershed protection efforts and groundwater issues.
Objective 2 The feasibility of design, permitting and installation of subdivision-scale rainwater harvesting systems as a water supply strategy for the Hill Country will be assessed, including an education and outreach tool box.
Objective 3 An Atlas of the Blanco River watershed will be prepared, including watershed characterizations and development recommendations, to better inform stakeholders about this watershed. This atlas will serve as a template that can be expanded to additional Hill Country Watersheds.


3. Increase public awareness of Water Resources concerns through targeted outreach.

The project goal is to support stakeholders in the Hill Country in the preservation and sustainable use of Central Texas water resources.

Located at Spring Lake on the Texas State University campus, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment’s core mission is to develop and promote programs and techniques for ensuring sustainable water resources for human needs, ecosystem health and economic development. The Meadows Center is committed to helping protect and conserve water resources while promoting economic development and social well-being by: advancing scientific and technical knowledge through research on aquatic resources; identifying and analyzing socio economic and political issues affecting water use; guiding the development of environmentally sustainable public water policy in Texas; cultivating public awareness and education about water resource issues.

“The noblest search is the search for excellence.” -Lyndon B. Johnson, Thirty-Sixth President of the United States, Texas State University Class of 1930

Texas State University-San Marcos is a public, student-centered, doctoral-granting institution dedicated to excellence in serving the educational needs of the diverse population of Texas and the world beyond.