In recent years, the oil and gas industry in Texas has seen a boom, driving fossil fuel exports. However, downturns in global demand and falling oil and natural gas prices have slowed this growth. Long-term energy production and local supply capacity is under pressure due to the combination of increased weather variability, limited supply of fossil fuels and water, and increasing demand due to population growth and urbanization.
For example: Increases in annual average temperatures and heatwaves drive demand for energy and water while increasing strain on energy infrastructure cooling systems and available surface water. During the 2011 Texas drought, electricity demand and generation increased by 6% and water consumption for electricity increased by 9%. While these increases may seem modest, the effects they can have on other energy providers like oil and gas-driven energy production can create a feedback loop with increasing energy demand and limited supply capacity.
Demand for energy, food, and various primary and intermediate products is expected to continue growing as populations and urbanization expand, even as risks increase and new and emerging threats materialize. These changing demands will create demands for USACE to improve national capabilities to provide support for very large crude carriers (VLCC) and full loaded deep-draft container vessels. This has immediate effects on the region's ports and inland waterways such as the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) and The Gulf Intercostal Waterway (GIWW). Improving inland waterways through channel deepening to support greater cargo loads also benefits the movement of energy goods, as well as agricultural goods and food in and out of the region.