Liquid Assets: The State of Texas’ Water Resources
Region H Plan
Exhibit 24: Map of Region H
Region H faces the challenge of subsidence, which is the settling or sinking of land caused by excessive groundwater pumping. As a result, the region is continuing to convert from groundwater to new surface water sources.
Region H, located in eastern Texas, comprises 15 counties including the Houston metropolitan area (Exhibit 24). The region includes portions of the Trinity, San Jacinto and Brazos river basins. Its predominant economic sector is the petrochemical industry; the region is responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s total petrochemical production. Other significant industries include medical services, tourism, construction, banking, transportation, government, fisheries and agriculture.
Strategies Used and Estimated Cost
The 23 strategies identified by Region H encompass $5.5 billion in capital costs and would provide 1,300,639 acre-feet of water annually by 2060. About half ($2.7 billion) of this cost is for the city of Houston’s purchase of water from the Trinity River Authority. Other costs include the construction of a new desalination plant, wastewater treatment plants, reservoirs and pipelines, at a cost of $1.5 billion. The remaining capital costs are primarily for the renewal of existing water contracts or for new contracts for additional water (Exhibit 25).61
Region H Water Management Strategies
|Description||Capital Costs||Water Gained in Acre-Feet||Average Capital Cost per Acre-Feet|
Note: Capital cost figures do not include administrative, programmatic or other costs that may be required to implement water management strategies.
Source: Texas Water Development Board.
Status of Major Water Projects and Strategies
In fiscal 2008, Region H received $71.6 million from the Water Infrastructure Fund from TWDB to implement three strategies that create or utilize more surface water. One of the projects in Region H, the Luce Bayou Interbasin Project, has received $28 million in water infrastructure funding from TWDB. This project will provide 400 million gallons per day to users in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. These funds will be used for planning, permitting and design. The Region H Planning Group anticipates $250 million from TWDB’s State Participation Program to fund future construction.62
The San Jacinto River Authority and the Central Harris County Regional Water Authority have received $21.5 million and $22.1 million respectively for the planning, permitting and infrastructure development to implement surface water conversion programs.63 The Region H Planning Group expects the North Fort Bend Water Authority to apply for $145 million in Water Development Funds from TWDB for the planning and construction of a similar program.64
According to the TWDB, if the strategies listed above are not implemented it could cost residents of Region H $2.5 billion in income and 27,970 full- and part-time jobs by 2010 and nearly $15.4 billion in income and about 188,000 jobs by 2060. In addition, state and local governments could lose $133 million in annual tax revenue by 2010 and nearly $1.2 billion by 2060.65
Regional Challenges and Successes
Region H faces the challenge of subsidence, which is the settling or sinking of land caused by excessive groundwater pumping. As a result, the region is continuing to convert from groundwater to new surface water sources.66 The regional planning group estimates that this conversion to surface water will cost $1 billion between now and 2020. The planning group anticipates that local municipalities and water agencies will seek state funds through the Water Infrastructure Fund and State Participation Program to cover part of the cost of conversion.67
- 61 Texas Water Development Board, Water for Texas 2007 (Austin, Texas, January 2007) Volume II, pp. 55-60, www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/State_Water_Plan/2007/2007StateWaterPlan/CHAPTER%202_REGIONAL%20H_FINAL%20112706.pdf. and Texas Water Development Board, Water for Texas 2007 (Austin, Texas, January 2007) Volume II, pp. 340-341, www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/State_Water_Plan/2007/2007StateWaterPlan/APP%202.1_final%20112906.pdf. (Last visited January 2, 2009.)
- 62 Letter from Mark Evans, vice-chair, Region H Water Planning Group, October 24, 2008.
- 63 Data provided by Stuart Norvell, manager, Water Resources Planning Division, Texas Water Development Board.
- 64 Letter from Mark Evans, vice-chair, Region H Water Planning Group.
- 65 Texas Water Development Board, Water for Texas 2007, Volume II, p. 251.
- 66 Texas Water Development Board, Water for Texas 2007, Volume II, p. 58.
- 67 Letter from Mark Evans, vice-chair, Region H Water Planning Group.