Find out how much water is used, by whom, and where in the Brazos River basin

Find out how much water is used, by whom, and where in the Brazos River basin

Where exactly does the water go that’s managed by the Brazos River Authority?

Good question. Each year the BRA compiles data from the calendar year and releases how much water is used, by whom, and where, among other details.

The Brazos River Authority has published its 2022 Customer Water Use and Reservoir Accounting Summary. The newly released summary presents an easy-to-understand graphic representation of the water supply within each reservoir, including inflows, supply use, environmental releases, and representation of the amount of water lost to evaporation for the 2022 calendar year.

The chart also illustrates how much water from each reservoir went to lakeside users, was part of a water supply release, or was due to leakage, as well as historical annual water use across the basin.

“It’s a useful tool,” said BRA Water Services Manager Aaron Abel. “It houses a great deal of good information about our customers’ water use and all the components that make up the mass balance of the system as far as inflows and releases and how water is moved from one reservoir to the next.” 

The BRA is responsible for providing water to municipalities, industry, agriculture, and mining within the Brazos basin. Those who use the water include cities, water districts, water supply corporations, agricultural users, irrigators, steam electric generating facilities, manufacturing entities, and mining operations. 

In 2022, roughly 48% of the water use was for municipal purposes, while 43% went to industrial uses such as electric generation, 7% for irrigation, and 2% for mining. 

Also last year, more than 502,050 acre-feet of water was lost to evaporation.

The document shows the factors that attributed to the loss or gain of water for each of the 11 BRA System reservoirs, which are scattered across the 42,000-square-mile river basin.

Total water used by BRA contract holders in 2022 was the second largest amount utilized annually since the BRA began making water available in 1942 at 325,879 acre-feet. In 2011, drought conditions and record-setting high temperatures saw total System use peak at just below 500,000 acre-feet. An acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) with one foot of water. One acre-foot is equal to 325,851 gallons of water.

Low-flow environmental releases made by the three BRA-owned reservoirs totaled 104,064 acre-feet for the past year. 

Total water use in the BRA System over previous years includes:

  • 325,879 acre-feet in 2022
  • 238,896 acre-feet in 2021
  • 288,968 acre-feet in 2020
  • 264,454 acre-feet in 2019
  • 284,268 acre-feet in 2018
  • 252,987 acre-feet in 2017
  • 226,348 acre-feet in 2016
  • 242,721 acre-feet in 2015
  • 255,946 acre-feet in 2014

For more information or to see past year’s reservoir accounting summaries, go here