Community Profile – Water as Economic Development in Coastal Bend Texas

 Daily life at South Texas Water Authority (STWA), a collection of seven utilities that buy their water from nearby Corpus Christi, has been steady since its inception in the 1970s. The utility was created by the state legislature to be a rural water provider and for the past half-century, STWA has only served residential customers. When Tesla announced a new lithium refining facility in the region in 2022, paired with a broader federal plan to create a corridor of economic development from Canada to Mexico that runs along Highway 69, STWA found itself at the center of an exciting opportunity to realize massive economic development that would require it to, for the first time, serve a commercial connection. This opportunity spurred a deeper view into the desire to attract other commercial connections to capture economies of scale and provide the residents with affordable infrastructure funding opportunities. The STWA embarked upon a multiyear master planning exercise to ensure that the residents would maintain the consistent reliable healthy access to water while making room for commercial opportunities. 

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