The Institute’s underlying mission is to conduct multidisciplinary research, combined with information and lessons learned from experiences in Texas, nationally and around the world, to manage freshwater systems and their environmental and socioeconomic linkages. Its mission is multi-faceted and interdisciplinary by its very nature, including identifying, analyzing and utilizing information and data on the scientific/ technical aspects that fundamentally define the status and availability of freshwater resources, and the socio-economic/governance aspects that fundamentally control how humans use these resources, and developing approaching for utilizing such information to manage freshwater resources on a basin level, whether local, national or international.


A major IISWR objective is to facilitate holistic assessment and integrated management approaches for ensuring the sustainable use of freshwater systems and their ecosystem services. An important complementary objective is the widespread dissemination and utilization of these approaches, including reporting on lessons learned in monitoring and evaluating their implementation in freshwater systems throughout the world to water managers, decisionmakers, scientists, community members and other water stakeholders as a means of informing practical and effective water resources management and policy decisions.

Achieving these objectives includes the following activities:

  • Undertaking research related to the sustainable use of freshwater ecosystems, particularly lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, and other pooled (lentic) waterbodies, and the downstream water systems into which they drain, and disseminating these results as appropriate via presentations, seminars, publications and reports, short courses, workshops, professional committees and electronic media;
  • Providing technical assistance within its expertise to organizations, agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals involved in relevant water-related activities and programs throughout the state, the nation and globally;
  • Developing and analyzing solutions to address the scientific, technical, social, institutional, policy, cultural and financial constraints to the sustainable use of freshwater systems, their basins and their resources, as well as their root causes, in a practical and timely manner; and
  • Facilitating environmentally-responsible and sustainable use of freshwater systems to meet human water demands for health, well-being and economic development, while also maintaining the integrity of aquatic ecosystems and their life-supporting services.