icon - electrical powerwetlands icon reeds on water
  Civil Works Strategic Plan

Uncertain Future of Energy

The SWD region has experienced a recent boom in oil and gas exports, but this boom may not last. Economic downturns and shifts to renewables may reduce global demand, while strained resources and risks to infrastructure may impact supply.

Global Energy Demand and Local Supply

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.

Water is very dynamic and used in almost everything we do. Unfortunately, most of us don't consider that every drop of water is connected. We do little to manage water quality and quantity in a holistic manner. Integrated Water Resource Management is an approach to understand water systems and drive policies and everyday usage to maximize multiple-use potential and ensure future sustainability. 

Water is a system with multiple inputs and outputs. Recognizing the interconnected nature of water allows us to extend the resource. Integrated Water Resource Management brings different organizations with different water uses together to see how they can collaborate and maximize water use. In its simplest form, Integrated Water Resource Management looks at all water needs and finds a way to meet those needs using the least amount of water. We see this with cities that regulate and establish natural buffers around waterways to help reduce flooding, improve water quality, and improve aquatic habitat. We se it in developments that use water-catch systems so rainwater can be used to water the grass and landscaping.

We need everyone to think about their water needs and usage as a connected system. When we look at water as a system, we can begin to look at how the system can meet multiple needs at once. In addition, water resource agencies as well as local and state governments can share data, information, and planning documents with one another to assess potential mutual benefits of water management. When we recognize water is constantly being used and reused as it moves through its system, we can develop plans that makes its multiple purposes most effective.

We want to work with you in solving complex water resource issues. Reach out to us today! Let us know what your agency, city, state, group, or community can do it help.

Strategic Response Plan

Civil Works Strategic Plan