An updated report issued last week by the Texas Water Development Board said it will cost $53 billion over the next 50 years to build the new reservoirs, pipelines, treatment plants and other water infrastructure needed to keep the state from drying up.
The latest state water plan, which is updated every five years, assumes the population of Texas will grow to 46 million by 2060, up from today’s 25 million.
The supply of water from existing sources will decline by 10% from current production due to increased depletion of several large aquifers. However, demand is expected to increase by only 22% despite the doubling in population because less water will be used for irrigation, the report said.
If new reservoirs are not built or other resources tapped, the projection warns of economic losses totaling $116 billion a year by 2060, and the loss of one million jobs.
“The primary message of the 2012 state water plan is a simple one,” the report said. “In serious drought conditions, Texas does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, and its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises.”
A constitutional amendment on Texas ballots for the Nov. 18 election would raise the authorization of the water board’s total outstanding GO debt to $6 billion.
Voters approved $2 billion of bonds in 2001.
There is $966 million of authorized but unissued debt from the 2001 capacity.
Without the additional capacity, the Water Development Board is on schedule to exhaust its capacity before the end of fiscal 2013.
The agency’s debt carries triple-A ratings from Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, and AA-plus from Standard & Poor’s.