Keeping Texas on a path for growth November 2013

Texas, unlike some other parts of the country, is experiencing unprecedented growth.  In the U.S. Census Bureau's list of 15 fastest growing large cities, 8 are in Texas.  Last month, the Austin Board of Realtors reported that city's home sales increased more than 30 percent over September 2012.  Increasing employment opportunities are anticipated as well, with cities like McAllen slated to experience 3.7% annual job growth according to a recent Forbes list.

However, these benefits can be quickly negated by long-term drought, critical water shortages and crumbling infrastructure.  Lost jobs, income and taxes are on the horizon if we don't have enough water.

Take a look at the infographic above to see how severe drought can affect Texas in five sample regional water planning regions (the Texas Water Development Board relies on 16 water planning regions to develop a state water plan that addresses needs and projects across the state).

These numbers are compelling.  But water management strategies can positively affect the economic impact within a particular region and the state's economy as a whole.  Construction projects provide a short-term boost to local economies through employment and earnings.  Expenditures on materials and labor as well as planning, design, and construction services result in increased local income.  After construction is complete, permanent employment is supported by the operation and maintenance of water supply facilities.

Specifically, every $1 million invested in water projects creates

  • $1.75 million sales revenues in construction, engineering, materials and supporting sectors
  • $889,000 in gross state domestic product
  • $44,000 in state and local tax receipts
  • 13 new jobs

If we don't have enough water, Texas will face many challenges if it hopes to continue on a path of growth.  But because we have a detailed planning process, we can avoid these negative effects and continue Texas’ economic growth despite national trends to the contrary.

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