Report Analyzes Economic Impact Of Texas Water Shortages

The Texas Comptroller's Office has released a report examining the effects of water challenges. It also offers several recommendations for the Legislature.

The recommendations are in a report from Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, who notes that Texas has been prone to cycles of drought for centuries, and there's no reason to expect that basic pattern to change.

"There's some tree ring data which shows going back, you know, 10,000 years. They had enormous cycles, you know, even 50-year droughts, so this is something that we have to deal with, with an ever-increasing population."

Combs says the Texas Water Report examines the economic impacts of water shortages.

"The economic effect of not having enough water — it limits energy; it limits jobs; it limits homes; it limits ... every single thing to some degree is connected to water."

The comptroller says what's needed is a revolution in water technology.

"Who would have thought that we'd be having these sort of Google glasses and all of this stuff — that level of innovation is so rapid, it's so fast. We haven't really applied that to water."

Combs says some regions face real challenges.

"San Antonio, in fact, which is sort of interesting, from a Florida study, says that San Antonio is the number one city out of 225 in the country that is the most at water risk. Houston, of course, you are are blessed with more water over there. But to have San Antonio be number one in the country is gonna wake people up. El Paso is number ten in the country. And water is everybody's problem."

The report calls for increased state funding to innovative projects modeling new technology to help planners make more informed decisions about water usage.