While droughts are not new for the lone star state, planning needs to happen for the future, one with a greater state population and ongoing climate change.
Recently, the Texas Water Research Network, part of The University of Texas at Austin, completed a study about how changing water availability will impact municipalities. The American Geophysical Union recently published an open access article about the study in their journal Earth’s Future about the water availability challenges in Texas’ future.
Present plan not adequate for the future
Future water shortage projections drive the need for Texas municipalities to solidify plans and policies in the present. The study emphasizes that current state-wide water planning is likely not to measure up to the needs of a warmer future. Different areas of the state will need to individualize their planning based on the identity of their stakeholders, topography and the degree of urbanization in an area.
The research identified four categories of stakeholders, each with different water needs. Those categories are agriculture concerns, large water suppliers, small water districts and regional water resources groups.
Relevance is key
Data must be relevant to each municipality for it to tailor planning for their unique communities’ consumption and available water resources. In addition, planning should grapple with sustainability far into the future. For example, the city of Austin now has a 100-year plan.
Municipalities that can step up to the challenge to proactively tackle this issue now will greatly benefit. Through use of climate projections and related data, planning can focus on how to source water for their needs as well as identify opportunities to conserve resources.