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opinions+water: Time for Texas to get serious about controlling water loss

This fall the state’s 16 regional water planning groups will be submitting to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) revised plans for meeting projected water demands in their area of Texas over the next fifty years — to 2070 and even beyond. These “2021” regional water plans, once reviewed and approved by TWDB, will be the culmination of the latest five-year review and revision cycle established by the passage of Senate Bill 1 by the Texas Legislature in 1997. The plans reflect “bottom-up” planning because these regional assessments of water needs and recommendations to meet those needs will be aggregated into the 2022 state water plan.

The total price tag for the various water management strategies proposed in the 2021 regional plans to meet future water needs has not yet been tallied. However, the 2017 Texas Water Plan estimated a projected outlay of $63 billion in capital costs over the next 50 years to implement strategies to address the water demands of a state population anticipated to reach 51 million by 2070. That $63 billion was an increase from the $55.7 billion cost estimate in the 2012 state water plan, and the projected cost of the 2022 plan is likely to be higher.

Read more from Ken Kramer in this issue of Texas + Water here.