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Texas State, Rep. Rose announce water research project

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
July 14, 2009

Rep. Patrick M. Rose (D—Dripping Springs) and Texas State University-San Marcos leaders announced the San Marcos River Observing System project at the Rivers Systems Institute July 14.

“Implementing a long-term plan to guarantee the sustainability of the San Marcos River basin is one of the most important investments our state can make today,” said Rep. Rose. “I am pleased to partner with Texas State in support of research that will further the environmental quality and economic security of our region. As Texans across our state are living with the realities of a drought, it is clear that we must plan for the future.”

During the legislative session last spring, Sen. Wentworth, Rep. Rose and Texas State were successful in securing a one-million dollar appropriation for the Institute. Other partners in the San Marcos River Observing System project include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the National Park Service.

“When Rep. Rose and Texas State partner at the Legislature, things get done,” said Denise M. Trauth, president of Texas State. “An investment of this size and for this project could not be better timed. By working with Rep. Rose, we have been able to position our university as an international leader on these important water sustainability issues.”

Water, and its availability, is key to Texas’ economic security. In Central Texas, the region’s rapid growth has heightened the need for understanding and effectively managing the water resources at San Marcos Springs, Spring Lake and the San Marcos River. The San Marcos River Observing System project will develop a comprehensive monitoring program to enhance the future sustainability of this basin.

“This project will allow us to design a long-term monitoring program for surface water and ground water affecting the river basin,” said Andrew Sansom, executive director of the River Systems Institute. “In Austin, I witnessed Rep. Rose successfully educate his colleagues in the Legislature about the importance of and need for our funding request. Rep. Rose understands that for Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio and other communities along the IH-35 corridor to thrive, we must be strategic about this important resource and that is what this project will help us do.”

Led by Sansom, the Institute’s mission is to develop and promote programs and techniques for ensuring sustainable water resources for human needs, ecosystem health and economic development. The San Marcos River’s headwaters emerge from the Edwards Aquifer into Spring Lake on the Texas State campus, uniquely positioning the Institute for this work. The Institute has recruited Thomas Hardy, an internationally recognized leader in ecohydraulics and river system modeling, who will be joining the Texas State faculty in August and will be working on the San Marcos River Observing System project.

“It is such an exciting time to be joining Texas State,” said Hardy, a research professor of biology and chief science officer of the River Systems Institute. “This project will gather important data about the effects of surface and groundwater emissions on the quality of water in the aquifer and river.”

“I know that under the leadership of Dr. Hardy and Andy,” said Rep. Rose, “the Institute will provide critical support to the work of the Edwards Aquifer Authority and the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, ensuring that our water supply is protected for generations to come.”