Water development board adopts plan
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) unanimously adopted the 2022 State Water Plan on July 7 that contains $80 billion in strategies to meet water demand over the next 50 years.
Regional water planning group members, agencies, and organizations helped develop the plan that projects a 73 percent population increase over the next 50 years, from 29.7 million in 2020 to 51.5 million in 2070.
Along with that growth comes a projected 9 percent increase in total water demand. Texas’ existing water supplies — those that can already be relied on during drought — are projected to decline 18 percent during this time.
To meet potential water shortages during a drought of record, the 2022 State Water Plan contains 5,800 strategies, such as conservation and reuse, which together make up nearly 50 percent of strategy volumes; aquifer storage and recovery; brackish groundwater and seawater desalination; and surface water strategies.
The estimated capital cost of implementing the 2022 plan is approximately $80 billion, and water providers anticipate needing $47 billion of that in state assistance.
TWDB leaders warned if Texas does not implement the water supply strategies and projects in the State Water Plan, a severe drought could cause $110 billion in economic damages in the immediate future, increasing to $153 billion per year by 2070.
The TWDB produces a new state water plan every five years based on 16 regional water plans developed by regional water planning groups. The 2022 State Water Plan will be submitted to the governor, lieutenant governor, and the Texas Legislature by January 2022.