Natural Resources

Striking a Balance Between Growth and Conservation

Overview

Rapid population growth threatens to severely strain our natural resources in Texas, driving up the demand for water and land, and increasing air emissions. The impacts of our changing climate make each of these challenges more severe.

Policymakers have an obligation to preserve the natural heritage of this state by promoting the sustainable use of our natural resources to accomplish both progress and preservation, so that our state maintains both its competitive advantages and its quality of life.

The challenge facing Texas is to ensure the long-term viability of our natural resources without stunting the economic expansion that our growing state demands.

Facts

  • Texas does not have enough water in the right places to meet needs in a major drought.

    If a major drought hit today, Texas would not be able to meet about one-fourth, or 4.8 million acre-feet, of our water needs. The shortage during a major drought is projected to grow to 41%, or 8.9 million acre-feet, by 2070.

  • Aging infrastructure is impacting the quality of water in Texas.

    Texas has an estimated $8.8 billion in drinking water needs and $11.8 billion in wastewater funding needs.

  • Texas experiences more billion-dollar weather disasters than any state.

    In the last few years, Texas has suffered the worst one-year drought (2011), the wettest year on record (2015), and the costliest hurricane (2017). By 2036, the average number of 100-degree days per year is expected to double, while urban flooding is expected to become 30-50% more frequent.

  • While Texas has made strides towards improving air quality, air quality remains a challenge.

    Texas has three of the 25 U.S. cities with the most polluted air: Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and El Paso.

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