The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce later today will release a scary report detailing the heavy impact on jobs, employment, and economic development of even a slight water shortage in the near future, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Chamber President Richard Perez says the study, which predicts job losses in every industrial sector if water shortages loom, is designed to convince the San Antonio Water System to adopt an 'all of the above' strategy for acquiring new sources of water. SAWS recently announced it was dropping three projects to pipe water into the region from new sources and would concentrate on its successful desalination plant in south Bexar County.
"I think this study points to the fact that maybe SAWS needs to rethink its decision," Perez said. "I don't know which of the three proposals is the best one, but I think it makes sense for SAWS to reevaluate its decision to reject all three, and maybe picking at least one of them, and maybe walking down the path of negotiations."
The report, by economic analyst Jon Hockenyos at Texas Perspectives, is unsparing, painting San Antonio as a Detroit-like wasteland in the worst case scenario, and showing the current economic boom quickly drying up, with thousands of job losses, even in the case of a small 11% water shortage.
"We really need to focus a lot of time and effort on securing additional water resources for this community," Perez said. "We don't want to just have enough, we want to have more than enough."
Perez cited the recent drought in California as evidence that the future economic battles will take place over water.
"The cities that are successful are the ones that have not just an adequate water supply, but ample water supply," Perez said.
He says 'we need to get serious about water resources.' He said acquiring more water will be expensive, but 'that's just how it is, unfortunately.'
The report shows that water losses would hit manufacturing, which needs water for a variety of reasons, the hardest, but other areas from health care to the arts, to real estate, to finance and insurance, would all be hit very hard by even an 11% water shortage.
The report concludes that in the case of a major water shortage, brown lawns would be the least of our worries. It predicts that job losses would soar into the sis figures, future economic growth would be choked off, and a large amount of the city's economic strength would be lost.