‘Water security’ was the talk of the town at the 2012 Texas Water Summit on the University of Texas campus Monday.
State leaders came together to share ideas on how to best meet future water needs after 2011, which was the worst single-year drought in Texas history. Industry, academia and government officials addressed a collective effort to design a long term water plan for a rapidly growing state.
"Our population is expected to double in the next 50 years. How are we going to provide the water that they need? How are we going to provide for the economic development of the state?" Danny Reible, Director for the Center for Research in Water Resources, said.
With hotter and drier weather predicted in the decades to come, experts say the time to make tough decisions is now.
"Unfortunately it's a complicated issue. I don't know how much can be accomplished in just one session," State Climatologist John Nielson-Gammon said.
Experts warn that relying on Mother Nature to keep the water flowing is not enough to keep up with a rapidly growing state, nor to maintain the livelihood of more than 25 million Texans.
Texas lost almost $10 billion following last year’s drought. It's a figure that could be a drop in the bucket if drier days continue statewide
"If you run out of water, you may run out of power. If you run out of power, you may run out of water. So they are both vulnerable, dependent on the other, which is a bad news story,” Michael Webber with the Center for International Energy & Environmental Policy said. "It could get worse because of population growth, economic growth and climate change."
State leaders say the purpose of the summit is to develop a better understanding
of the science, technology, economics, policy requirements and public education needed to address the region's water needs.