The study reveals the magnitude and frequency of water supply shortages within the study area are already severe and problematic, even before projecting the effects of climate change. The study confirmed projections offered by the Texas State Water Plan, specifically a growing population in the eight-county region that is expected to grow from 1.7 million in 2010 to 4 million by 2060, resulting in the need for an additional 592,000 ac-feet of water per year, or about 35 percent of the total water demand.

The State Water Plan identified strategies to meet those needs, but the Lower Rio Grande Valley water study determined that climate change will likely increase the shortage by an additional 86,438 ac-ft/yr.

While the 2011 water study helped to identify brackish water supplies that could be used for desalination and further recommend that three such desalination facilities would be required to meet the growing need for water in the region, water officials say the real challenge comes in identifying funding to make the facilities a reality.