10 things about the Brazos River to be thankful for this holiday season

10 things about the Brazos River to be thankful for this holiday season

Thanksgiving is a time when we come together with family and friends to reflect on the good things and express gratitude for the people and experiences that have enriched our lives. 

Photo submitted by Kelly Foster

It's a time to be thankful for the way others have supported you throughout the year, offering invaluable advice, encouragement, and love. A time to be thankful for the opportunities you've had to learn and grow. A time to be thankful for the hope that comes with knowing tomorrow is a new day filled with limitless possibilities. A time to be thankful for the strength and resilience that has carried you through tough times.

This Thanksgiving, we're taking a moment to express our thanks to a life-giving resource, one that is cleansing, fluid, quenching, and awe-inspiring.

We are thankful for water. 

Water covers about 71% of the Earth's surface, yet 97% of it is found in oceans, which are too salty for drinking, growing crops, and most industrial uses, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. 

  1. We are thankful for the rivers and lakes within the Brazos River Basin that provide us with a source of fresh water, a foundation to life. 

    Whether it's the Brazos or Navasota rivers, lakes Possum Kingdom, Whitney or Stillhouse, we are grateful for the availability of clean water for drinking, cleaning, bathing, and irrigation. 

    Water in our homes can be used to bathe, wash a smelly dog, cook, wash dishes and clothes, keep pools clean and full, water grass and lawns and flush toilets. And we use a lot of it. Each American uses an average of 82 gallons of water a day at home, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  2. Thankful for the rivers and lakes that support diverse ecosystems that thrive within these water bodies, providing habitats for fish, birds, mammals, and countless other organisms. The role they play serves as a habitat for diverse wildlife, allowing us to witness the graceful flight of birds, the playful antics of otters, and the mysterious habits of aquatic creatures.
  3. Thankful for the ways water helps keep the lights on. Much of the electricity generated in Texas requires water to be used in the process. Coal or gas, nuclear and hydroelectric plants all require a steady supply of water to function. Water from the Brazos River is used to help generate electricity at a variety of power plants throughout the basin. Whenever you turn on the air-conditioner on a hot summer day or the heater during winter, take food out of your refrigerator or turn on a light so you can read at night, you may not realize it, but water plays a major role in making that happen.
  4.  Thankful for the ways water keeps our bellies full. Crops and animals depend on water to thrive and produce the food we want and need. 
    Photo submitted by Diane Davis
    When rain is scarce, we rely more heavily on our public water supply to make up the difference. Water is essential for keeping fruits, vegetables, and grains growing to feed a hungry population. Estimates vary, but the USGS states that about 70% of all the world's freshwater withdrawals go toward irrigation uses. 
  5. We are thankful for the Brazos River's gift of resilience as it continues to flow and adapt, reminding us of our own capacity to overcome obstacles and navigate the currents of life. 

    The Brazos River is the longest river contained entirely in Texas, with its watershed stretching from New Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico. The Brazos crosses most of the physiographic regions of Texas -- the High Plains, West Texas Rolling Plains, West Cross Timbers, Grand Prairie and Gulf Coastal Plains -- offering a variety of landscapes, including canyons in the upper portion, rolling hills and plains in the central and beaches near the Gulf. 

    The river descends at a rate of three feet to one-half foot per mile, flowing 938 miles down to the Gulf of Mexico.
  6. Thankful for the rivers and lake's ability to teach us patience as we wait for the perfect catch, reminding us that good things come to those who bait. 

    Did you know that Lake Limestone offers some of the best fishing in Central Texas? Its flooded timber and abundance of aquatic vegetation offer cover for largemouth and white bass as well as crappie and catfish.
  7. Thankful for the recreational activities water offers. Whether it's for joy or relaxation, swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, paddleboarding and so much more occurs on the rivers and lakes we love. 

    While the lakes in the Brazos River Water Supply System were built for either water supply or flood control, or a combination of the two, a secondary benefit is the recreational opportunities those lakes provide.
  8. Thankful for the water used in wastewater treatment centers that protect our public health and keep our environment clean. 
      When wastewater passes through a sewage plant, it undergoes a rigorous treatment process, where solids are removed, odor is reduced dramatically, and harmful microorganisms are killed. When the final product is deemed safe for the environment, it is released into streams, where it is further treated by ultraviolet light from the sun. It mixes with water already in the environment, and some of it makes its way downstream to water treatment plants to rejoin the public water supply.
  9. Thankful for water so that hospitals and healthcare facilities are kept safe in order to keep us safe. Water is used to wash surgical tools and equipment to ensure healthcare settings are not contaminated, and the facilities are properly cooled and heated when necessary.
  10. Thankful for water because you are made up mostly of water. 

    Our brain, heart, lungs, skin, muscles, kidneys, and bones are all made up of large portions of water. We have the opportunity to stay hydrated to help keep organs functioning properly, to improve sleep quality, cognition and mood, and to prevent infections, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

We all have a lot of things to be thankful for! Whether it's the simple pleasures in life, such as a cozy fire and a good book, a walk with your fur baby, or the natural beauty that surrounds us, from the changing colors of the leaves to the views along the Brazos River, let us be thankful.