- Population growth, increasing water demand, contamination issues and droughts have placed the state’s water supply under tremendous stress.
- Water demand in Texas is projected to increase by 17% from 2020 to 2070.
- Protecting water resources and utilizing conservation practices will be essential to sustaining the state’s water demand-supply balance.
AgriLife Extension Response
Through 2,700 educational events, planning meetings and workshops in 2021, AgriLife Extension reached more than 1.3 million educational and other contacts to increase public awareness and adoption of practices vital to improving and sustaining the state’s water demand-supply balance.
- These programs teach participants about efficient water use, sustainable practices, watershed management and environmental stewardship.
- Urban water issues are being addressed through several educational programs, including popular water-use efficiency efforts such as Earth-Kind® landscaping and strategies for in-home water savings.
- Conservation programs focus on reducing household water use and improving irrigation efficiencies in lawns, landscapes and agricultural production systems.
- The Texas 4-H Water Ambassadors provides high school youth an opportunity to gain advanced knowledge, explore career pathways, and practice leadership skills related to science, technology, engineering, and management of water.
The benefits of these programs are measured in terms of water saved, water-cost savings, number of jobs and annual wages for trainees in the landscape-irrigation profession, and benefits associated with watershed protection and educational programs.
- Water conservation programs have resulted in a potential savings of 4.1 billion gallons annually (enough to supply 37,500 households), valued at $15 million.
- More than 20 water quality restoration efforts across Texas follow the Plum Creek Watershed model. The Plum Creek, Attoyac Bayou, and Buck Creek watersheds and parts of the Navasota River watershed have been removed from the EPA’s list of impaired water bodies.
- Outreach efforts continue to support the identification of sources of contamination, educational programs, and critical water quality protection activities with economic benefits of more than $1.4 million in 2021.
- Programs that provide certification in landscape irrigation, onsite wastewater systems management and water quality directly support 1,890 jobs, with $62.4 million in annual wages.
- The ultimate societal benefit to Texas is the protection and more efficient use of scarce water resources.