Impact of Water Efficiency Program Expenditure on the Texas Economy

December 4, 2017
Report cover

If you read the economic projections from the Dallas Fed or the Annual Economic Outlook from Texas A&M, the focus will be on the energy sector rebound from low oil prices, and manufacturing jobs, and housing starts. But water is behind all of those jobs — whether for oil exploration and production, steam electric generation or cooling for manufacturing, or the growing appetite for water in new homes and neighborhoods. And how much water Texas has — and will continue to have — shapes our economic growth.

This report, however, is not about the importance of maintaining Texas’ water for Texas’ businesses. It is about the very real business of maintaining Texas’ water.

Texas investments in water efficiency — whether on old, water-wasting toilets, landscape irrigation, commercial kitchens, industrial process, or reducing water losses — create jobs for Texans. As this report shows, every dollar invested by the state on water efficiency yields $1.30 to state output and $0.80 to gross state product, a solid return. A $2 billion investment in water efficiency would not only provide $2.6 billion in state output and $1.6 billion in gross state product, it would also create thousands of jobs. These positions are utility staff, builders, plumbers, irrigation contractors, retailers, and many others.

This report demonstrates that significant investment in water efficiency is a sound, “no regret” strategy for the State of Texas. The lessons learned in the most recent drought — which cost Texas billions of dollars in economic losses and damages — all show that helping the public to use water more efficiently can yield greater reserves of water, help us manage another drought more effectively, and sustain economic growth for years to come. All while lowering the cost of water services and providing real jobs to real Texans.