Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Water is good for Texas





Canals in Texas serve two purposes. They provide a means of maritime transportation, and they provide water for industry, irrigation and drinking. Texas, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and neighboring states, is responsible for a large, interconnected canal system that supplies not only water, but provides access to Texas’ many deep-draft ports and inland waterways through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. This waterway connects Texas to international trade networks and is a significant boost for jobs and economic development.

Transportation Canals

Solely designed for shipping and maritime traffic.

Industry, Irrigation and Drinking Water Canals

Once water is sourced, either as groundwater, surface water or reclaimed water, it is transported to its various commercial and residential destinations through canals. Canals provide a simple and low-energy means of transporting water from a source to local distribution centers through gravity.

LNVA manages
 and coordinates
 releases of water in the
Sam Rayburn Reservoir and
  Lake BA Steinhagen. The distribution system delivers fresh water to eight cities, 26 industries and more than 100 irrigated farms in the region.

While comprising only a third of the entire GIWW, the Texas portion handles 70 percent of the canal’s total traffic — about 77.7 million tons

Information Major Texas Transportation Canals Major Texas Industry, Irrigation and
Drinking Water Canals
Gulf Coast Inter­coastal Water­way (GIWW)
Houston Ship Channel
Sabine-Neches Water­way
Lower Neches Valley Author­ity Canal System
John W. Simmons Gulf Coast Canal System
Rio Grande Project
Location Stretches from southern­most Texas to northern Florida for a total of 1,100 miles.
Texas portion is 379 miles long.
Stretches from downtown Houston to the Gulf of Mexico.
Feeds into GIWW.
Connects Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange and Sabine Pass to the Gulf of Mexico.
Feeds into GIWW.
Consists of 416 miles of canals.
Orange, Texas, and flows throug­hout Orange County and parts of Newton County.
Consists of 75 miles of canals.
Rio Grande River Valley, covering parts of West Texas, South Central New Mexico and Northern Mexico.
Consists of:
• 141 miles of canals.
• 462 miles of laterals.
• 457 miles of drains.
U.S.: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with input from each effected Gulf Coast state.
Texas Department of Transportation assists in planning and procuring land for dredging.
Port of Houston.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Sabine-Neches Navigation District.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Lower Neches Valley Authority. Sabine River Authority of Texas – Gulf Coast Division. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Benefits Contri­buted up to $31.7 billion to Texas’ GDP in 2018.
Texas handles 70% of the total GIWW traffic.
Contri­buted up to $337 billion in state economic value 2018. Largest crude oil and LNG exporter in the U.S.
Supports nearly 375,000 U.S. jobs.

Glenn Hegar

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

This is one in a series of reports the Comptroller has prepared on water in Texas.

See more information on Water Issues and the Texas economy.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.