A Message from the Director

Water availability and quality and their effects on humankind are among the greatest challenges for the United States in general and Texas in particular. Variability in the precipitation and drought patterns throughout the southwest United States, combined with increasing water demand continue to have significant social, political, economic, and environmental impact on the 50 million people who live in Texas and the other Gulf states. A greater understanding of the water availability, storage, usage, and quality, in both space and time, is critical for ensuring a sustainable future for the citizens of Texas.

Funded by Texas A&M University in 2015, Texas Water Observatory (TWO) is a long-term (10+ years) collaborative effort among a multi-disciplinary team of scientists from College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS), College of Geosciences (GEO), and College of Engineering (COE), with the expectation to grow to other Texas A&M colleges, and other major universities in Texas and surrounding states. The observatory is the first of its kind in Texas and is located in South-Central Texas along the Brazos River corridor across a mosaic of land uses (cultivation agriculture, range/pasture, native prairie, forest, salt marsh) and landforms (low-relief erosional uplands to depositional lowlands), and across climatic and geologic gradients. Central to the TWO effort is near-real time monitoring, assimilating, modeling, and disseminating a variety of data such as hydrology, climate/weather, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, ground water level, stream flow, ecosystem indicators, water quality, and water use/availability to understand the linked (blue and green) water cycle and provide various scenarios as tools for researchers, students, natural resource managers, water users, and decision makers alike.

TWO's infrastructure is designed to serve as a regional resource for better understanding and/or managing:

  1. Agriculture – Drought Monitoring, Irrigation Planning, Root Zone Soil Moisture Status, Land and Crop Management, Evapotranspiration Dynamics, Water-Energy-Food Nexus, Water Quality
  2. Water Resources – Water Availability, Streamflow, Surface Water Store, Soil Water Store, Ground Water Store, Water Withdrawals, Water Infrastructure Planning
  3. Ecosystems – Water and Ecosystem Services, Flood and Drought Impacts, Aquatic Habitat in Drought Conditions, Wetlands and Lakes
  4. Biodiversity – Water Stress and Impacts in Biota, Water Infrastructure and Biodiversity, Gradients across Urban and Rural Corridor
  5. Disasters – Flood, Drought, Soil Erosion and Sedimentation, Land Degradation, Adaption to Climate Variation
  6. Health – Water Quality, Effect of Flood and Drought, Availability of Potable Water
  7. Energy – Water for (Hydropower, Cooling Power Plant, Fracking Shale Gas, Biofuel Production)
  8. Weather and Climate – Improved Regional Modeling and Forecast for Precipitation, Temperature, Humidity, and Extreme Events             

Besides developing a network of field water observatory infrastructure for accounting water flow and storage, TWO facilitates the development of a new generation interdisciplinary water professionals (from various TAMU Colleges and its partnering institutes) with better understanding and skills for attending to future water challenges of the region. Most of the datasets collected or models developed at Texas Water Observatory are available to our collaborators (see data sharing portal). I invite you to visit the TWO website and its various features to explore available infrastructure and sample databases and register (bmohanty@tamu.edu) as a TWO partner/collaborator/user. Together we can grow to attend future challenges related to water in Texas and beyond! Thank You.


Binayak Mohanty
Texas Water Observatory