Infrastructure and Natural Resources

Reliable infrastructure and responsible stewardship of natural resources form the backbone of the Texas economy.

Texas’ critical infrastructure includes the plants, pipelines and lines that provide water, data and electricity to our homes and businesses. The state’s population is projected to increase nearly 25% by 2036 to more than 38 million residents — a massive influx of people. Our state’s infrastructure capacity must adapt and expand in order to keep pace with this growth.

Texas industries and municipalities face the risk of water shortages. Texas’ unmet water needs during a severe drought are projected to exceed 4.7 million acre-feet by 2030, which is about 27% of Texas’ total water usage in 2020. Not having enough water during a severe drought could cost Texas $128 billion in lost economic activity. In addition, growing water shortages will limit the viability of Texas agriculture, as major groundwater resources in some areas of the state are being depleted faster than they can be replenished.

Digital connectivity, access to broadband and digital literacy are necessary to compete in the modern-day economy. Digital infrastructure is increasingly necessary to access health care, education, and economic opportunity. However, 7.4 million people — nearly one-quarter of the Texas population — do not have access to broadband.

A reliable, cost-effective electric infrastructure is also critical to power the economy and supply homes and businesses. Today, however, while Texas has low electricity rates, we also have the highest residential electricity bills due to usage ($132 per month on average) and the worst federally rated reliability metrics — including System Average Interruption Frequency Index and System Average Interruption Duration Index — relative to Texas’ peer states.

Texas’ open spaces and wildlife must also be preserved for future generations to enjoy. For the last 15 years, more than 80% of Texans have affirmed that “unless we protect Texas’ natural areas, we will lose the very things that make Texas a special place in which to live.” Yet Texas ranks 10th among Peer States on the preserved lands available to residents per capita. Outdoor recreation is also a vital economic engine. In 2020, activities related to parks and park visits produced about $32 billion in gross state product and supported 300,000 jobs across Texas.

At the same time, Texas’ energy production contributes billions to the Texas economy and supports millions of Texas jobs. Thanks to abundant energy resources, including proven oil and gas reserves and a vibrant energy workforce, Texas has cemented its role as the nation’s energy leader. Texas has the opportunity to build on this hard-won achievement to guide the nation in an energy expansion that generates more, and cleaner power to keep the economy running.

Infrastructure Staff

Policy & Data


Making a Texas-Sized Impact in Space

As the official data partner of the Texas Lyceum, Texas 2036 gathered data on the  important role that Texas plays in advancing the space sector for the nation — and we attempt to answer this big question: How does Texas compare to other states in this newest race to open the final frontier? (April 2024)


Legislative Blueprint for Addressing Texas’ Water Crisis

This policy blueprint prepared by Texas 2036 offers findings and recommendations that seek to both maximize the state’s leverage and deployment of IIJA dollars while using this unprecedented federal funding opportunity as a catalyst for a new policy framework for addressing Texas’ water infrastructure needs. (January 2023)

Investing in Texas: Drought

Texas’ potential negative economic impacts are presented, based on the State Water Plan’s projection of insufficient additional water supplies to meet increasing demand over the next 50 years. (June 2022)


TX 3 big energy questions pump jack

Future of Texas Energy

Texas 2036 has launched a new interactive tool offering unprecedented insights into the future of Texas’ energy landscape. (March 2024)

Expanding the Energy Menu: Texas can lead the next energy revolution

By extending Texas’ 20th-century framework of policies and practices, which has provided important regulatory certainty to the state’s oil and gas industry for close to a century, to reflect 21st-century needs, the state can support continued energy development. Texas can continue to be creative in expanding the state’s energy base — including new and alternative energy — in ways that build a brighter future for all Texans. (March 2023)

Investing in Texas: Energy Expansion

Using carbon capture, geothermal energy and hydrogen as examples, this details how Texas can continue its energy leadership in the 21st century, as growing demand for clean, zero-carbon energy fuels a worldwide energy expansion. (April 2022)

Changing World Oil Markets and the Texas Economy

Changing World Oil Markets and the Texas Economy

A partnership with the Center for Houston’s Future, this examines how losses in the oil and gas industry would affect the Texas economy, specifically K-12 education funding. Included are oil price scenarios, forecasts of oil and gas production over the next 15 years, and estimates on the Texas budget, economy, and school funding. (March 2021)


Housing Affordability: A roadmap for future Texans to achieve the American dream of home ownership

This policy blueprint takes a bird’s eye view at what’s driving housing prices higher and lays out concrete steps that Texas policymakers can take today to address the high cost of housing across the state.

These recommendations aim to address the barriers to home ownership that so many Texas families, seniors and young mobile Texans face today and tomorrow. (March 2023)


Investing in Texas: Broadband

The Center for Public Finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy examines the benefits – and challenges – that come with expanding broadband to connect the millions of Texans currently unable to access this critical resource. (May 2022)


Investing in Texas: State Parks

Research indicates that every $1 in public money spent on parks can generate between $4 and $12 in economic return. State park investment can generate meaningful and measurable economic benefits at the state level as well as for local and rural economies. (July 2022)

Key Insights