LAMPASAS — The state of water quality and dwindling supply of water resources prompted about 30 people to attend the Texas Watershed Stewardship program Thursday at the Lampasas County Farm Bureau office.
The program focused on educating and motivating individuals to bolster water conservation efforts in the area.
Many people in attendance own property along the Lampasas River basin and were concerned with the effects recent droughts have had on the local water supply’s quantity and quality.
Texas AgriLife Extension Program Specialist Galen Roberts, workshop coordinator, said everyone lives in a watershed.
“All land is part of a watershed,” he said. “Watersheds act like a drain pool providing a collection of water, which drains into a common water body.”
Roberts asked participants to think of a watershed as a big bathtub — the tub as a collection of water, with the drain providing the runoff.
More than half of water sources in Texas are contaminated to some degree with a variety of pollutants, he said.
“From agricultural and industrial production to drinking water, we live, work and recreate with the use of watersheds,” Roberts said.
Mark McFarland, Texas A&M University professor and state water quality coordinator, gave an overview of watershed impairments. He detailed the various federal, state and local agencies involved in setting water quality standards by regulating the maximum amount of pollutants allowed in water supplies.
“Start thinking about how our activities affect the water cycle,” McFarland said. “We need to be more strategic in how we use our water resources. We have some control on how the water cycle operates, but we have a lot of control on how we manage that cycle.”
With statistical data dominating the workshop, presenters gave examples of how water quality can be diminished by nonpoint source pollutants that seep into local reservoirs from waste produced by humans, pets, wildlife, livestock and other non-domestic animals and illegal dump sites that provide havens for rodents and wild animals.
The Lampasas River basin has experienced its share of pollutants in the past, mostly related to bacteria, McFarland said. Individuals can help eliminate sources of contamination and bacterial deposits in rural watersheds by being proactive.