Natural Resources

Vision: San Antonio serves as a national model for respectful stewardship of the city's natural resources and values them for their social, ecological, and economic benefits.

field of grass and flowers

Air Quality

A Breath of Fresh Air

San Antonio is a big city blessed with a warm climate, robust economy and growing population. But, like all big cities, those blessings also present challenges that may threaten our collective well-being. One of those challenges is keeping our air clean – the air that we breathe every day and on which all life depends. Our air doesn’t look particularly dirty, but the truth is we have surpassed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) health-based clean air standards. Therefore, it’s important for us all to work together to reduce pollution and clean up our air.

Air pollution can be caused by many things, including burning of fossil fuels for power generation, industrial manufacturing and refining, and driving our vehicles. By reducing our energy use and finding more sustainable ways to get around our City, we will work together to keep our air clean.

  

Air Quality

What is Ozone?

Ground-level ozone is the major component of smog and is the result of both uncontrollable and controllable factors. The uncontrollable factors are sunlight, high temperatures and low winds. The controllable factors are the emissions released when we drive our vehicles and lawnmowers that run on gasoline and diesel and from paints, solvents and fuels. When the uncontrollable factors combine with controllable factors we get a rise in ozone. To improve air quality in San Antonio, reducing emissions from combustion engines is critical.

UNIT
We measure ozone in our air is determining the amount (or concentration) of this pollutant is in one billion units of air. To help visualize this, consider one drop of ink in one of the largest tanker trucks used to haul gasoline would be an ink concentration of 1 ppb.
ppbParts per Billion
An infographic that shows how pollutants from industrial processes and vehicles react with heat and sunlight to produce low-lying ozone that worsens air quality

Exhaust and pollutants interact with heat and light to create ozone and reduce air quality.

2015

78 ppb

2016

73 ppb

2017

74 ppb

2018

72 ppb

2019

73 ppb

2020 - Goal

70 ppb

San Antonio is striving to be back in attainment of Federal Air Quality Ozone Standards

We've nearly met our goal thanks to out actions that reduce local air pollution.

Even after reaching Federal standards we'll continue to work towards cleaner air for all San Antonians.

field with flowers

Air Quality

What is "Non-Attainment"?

When the average annual amount of air pollution like ozone in our City's air is found to be higher than the ‘threshold’ level, defined by the U.S. Clean Air Act to keep our air healthy, then our City is in "non-attainment". Areas with all air pollutants below those levels are considered in attainment. Learn more about air quality in San Antonio.

One way the City is achieving this goal is through its Anti-Idling Ordinance. Idling can burn up to a gallon of fuel per hour needlessly and those numbers can add up quick when multiplied by the number of vehicles in San Antonio. This is a small but effective way to bring down local air pollution levels.

  

Air Quality

How San Antonio is Monitoring Air Quality

Our ozone levels are measured by a network of air quality sensors located throughout Bexar County. These sensors are operated 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, so they are continuously monitoring the air we breathe.

Whether we meet Federal standards depends on a number of factors, including how attainment levels are determined. Each of Bexar County's monitors has a three-year average calculated for it. At the end of the year the highest of the three-year averages is considered the “design value” for Bexar County. In 2015 the highest value was 78 at Camp Bullis. The same logic was applied to the following years, so a high reading at a single site can have a big influence on whether we meet the standard.

This is an image of one of the air quality monitoring stations around San Antonio.

A picture of an air quality monitoring device, which is a large rectangular object on a tall tripod.

  

image of lungs

Did you know?

Ozone in the air can be harmful, especially on hot sunny days when ozone pollution can reach unhealthy levels. Even relatively low levels of ozone can cause health problems and can be serious in people with respiratory diseases such as asthma. Children, the elderly and outdoor workers are most sensitive to increased levels of ozone. A recent study estimated that increases in ozone levels in San Antonio results in 19 deaths each year and that improvements in ozone levels could lead to 24 avoided deaths

Learn More About How Ozone Effects On Your Health

Air Quality

Ozone Air Improvement Trend

You will see in this graph, overall our air is getting cleaner. For the previous 8 years the population has increased 14% while our ozone has decreased nearly 1%. This was the result of controls put on major sources of emissions like power plants and cement kilns, as well as through improvements in vehicle emissions standards. However, ozone levels are exceeding the health-based standards set by the EPA (which is 70 ppb) and we all need to continue to work together to make our air healthy.

Air Quality

As you can see in the graph, overall our air is getting cleaner. Since peaking in 2013, we've reduced ozone levels by over 10% while our population has grown by nearly 10%. This was the result of controls put on major sources of emissions like power plants and cement kilns, as well as through improvements in vehicle emissions standards. However, ozone levels are exceeding the health-based standards set by the EPA (which is 70 ppb) and we all need to continue to work together to make our air healthy.

people playing in a field

Have you signed up for ozone alerts?

Sign up with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to get notified when ozone levels will be high the following day. With this information you can act to keep our community healthier and safer! Simply click the link below and sign up Sign up for then looking for Ozone Action Alert under the Forecasts and Alerts subject. Learn more about how we're keeping our air clean in our Ozone Action Day Plan!

Sign Up for Ozone Action Alert
people at San Antonio river

Water Conservation and Protection

Protecting our Water Supply

San Antonio is growing to ensure that our entire community has access to a safe, reliable and secure water supply for years to come. The Edwards Aquifer is our primary source of water. It is a unique groundwater system and one of the greatest natural resources on Earth. We need to be conscious of how much water we draw from it, so we have that supply in the long term. The San Antonio River provides us with a sense of place. It brings our community together. Protecting these valuable water sources will, in turn, protect the health and well-being of each of us as well as our natural resources.

UNIT
We measure water conservation by determining the average amount of water each person in San Antonio uses every day.
gal/pp/dayGallons per person per day

  

1992

154 gal/pp/day

2014

121 gal/pp/day

2016

117 gal/pp/day

2018

115 gal/pp/day

2019

115 gal/pp/day

2040 - Goal

96 gal/pp/day

San Antonio has a goal to reduce water consumption to 110 gallons per person per day

In both 2018 and 2019, we were at 115 gallons per person per day. That's 25% less water than we used in 1992 when SAWS was formed.

Our original goal was to be at 110 gallons per person per day (GPCD) by 2040. Because we've come so far and we know San Antonio can do it, we're now aiming for 96 GPCD!

Infographic where does SA water come from?

Water Conservation and Protection

Where Our Water Comes From

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) recognizes that it is important to source our water needs from a variety of different places to ensure that we have the amount of water we need. As our population grows, so will the demand on our water supply. This image shows you where our water came from in 2017 and where it will come from in 2070. You’ll see the amount of water we obtain from each source changes depending on whether we are experiencing drought or normal conditions. During droughts, we rely more heavily on recycled and recovered water and other water bodies besides the Edwards Aquifer.

Wan to learn more? Then check out our Water Conservation Plan.

Water Conservation and Protection

Saving Water Today is an Investment in Our Future!

There are many ways each one of us can reduce the amount of water we use.


Find out to plant and maintain a low water use garden.

San Antonio Xeriscaping Guide
Learn how to identify and repair water leaks in your home!

SAWS Leak Tips on Indoor Leaks
planting low water use garden

  

San Antonio Parks

Places to Gather

San Antonio's parks are places where families, friends, and neighbors can gather and celebrate, where we all can take a break, enjoy nature and breathe clean, fresh air. Protecting and enhancing our parks is a direct investment in our health and well-being, our community and our environment.

close up image of flower
infographic of san antonio park systems

San Antonio Parks

Our Park System

San Antonio's Park System covers 10% of our City, with each park averaging over 11 acres in size! In fact, 38% of all San Antonio residents currently live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and we're working to increase that percentage - especially for those areas of the city considered underserved. Check out our Parks Department to learn more.

San Antonio Parks and Recreation

Programs and Fun at San Antonio Parks

The Parks and Recreation Department offers something for everyone when it comes to recreational fun, fitness, learning and life-long growing.  We offer an enormous variety of programs and classes to fit your every need. Music, dance, art, fitness, sports—you name it, and you have the opportunity to explore new vistas and develop new interests. Start now by exploring all the fun the Parks and Recreation Department has to offer!

infographic of san antonio park systems

San Antonio Parks

Find Out What's Going on at Your Parks!

Your San Antonio Parks and Recreation facilities have a lot to offer! Check them out today!


Find a Park Near You!

San Antonio Parks Map
Have Your Next Party at a San Antonio Park!

Parks Reservation Information
Find Out What's Happening in Your San Antonio Parks!

News and Events Overview
people doing yoga outside
tree

Tree Canopy and Natural Habitat

Tree Canopy

Trees provide many benefits to our community, such as improving water quality, reducing stormwater runoff, lowering summer temperatures, reducing energy use in buildings, improving air quality, enhancing property values, improving human health, and providing wildlife habitat. The City is actively working to increase the number of healthy trees we have so we can maximize the benefit from this natural resource.

UNIT
Percent tree canopy describes the proportion of the total land that is covered by tree branches and leaves.
%Percent Tree Canopy

2014

30%

2040 - Goal

40%

San Antonio seeks to have 40% of our City covered with tree canopy by 2040. This is an addition to our parks!

Currently we have 30% of our City covered by tree canopy. We have met 75% of our goal!

Tree Canopy and Natural Habitat

San Antonio's Tree Canopy Map

This map shows the overall tree canopy coverage in San Antonio. The City is strategically increasing the amount of tree canopy across San Antonio, focusing on those areas where people need it. These areas include streets that typically have many walkers and bus stops in low income neighborhoods. Creating more tree canopy in these areas will provided needed shading to our community, reducing the air temperature and increasing our air quality.

Data Source: National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) 2014, 1m NIR

tree canopy map of SA
forest

Did you know?

Having a large, healthy tree canopy in our City not only looks nice and provides needed shade when we're walking around but it also is an important part of our approach to making San Antonio more prepared for our changing climate. 

Learn more about how trees are used to fight climate change.
landscaped walkway

Tree Canopy and Natural Habitat

Natural Habitat

San Antonio serves as a national model for respectful stewardship of the city’s natural resources. We value our natural resources for their social, ecological, and economic benefits. We are strategically developing natural areas that support healthy animals, plants and insects. Our drought-tolerant green spaces will incorporate native plant species, so that native animals and insects, like monarch butterflies, can thrive.

butterfly

Did you know?

San Antonio has committed to the National Wildlife Federation’s “Mayor’s Monarch Pledge,” by working with partners to enhance habitat for pollinating insects and to educate and encourage the greater community to support this initiative.

SA's Mayor's Monarch Pledge

Tree Canopy and Natural Habitat

Create Your Own Natural Habitat!

Each and every one of us can play a role to help improve our natural resoruces. 


Looking to test your green thumb? Try plants that need little water, provide shade and attract wildlife!

Drought Tolerant Plants
Become a Citizen Scientist and contribute to San Antonio's conservation efforts!

Monarch Joint Venture
person with plants