Texas Gulf Coast areas near Houston have been affected to an increasing degree by land subsidence in recent years. Sinking of the surface has reached critical proportions in many areas, and subsidence of as much as nine feet has occurred since 1943. Physical effects have been extensive, affecting over 3,000 square miles, and economic effects have been aggravated by the approximity of much of the area to bay waters. Subsidence has resulted in significant damage and property loss, from both permanent salt water inundation and temporary flooding due to storm-related tides and rains.
Industrial, municipal and agricultural demands for water have increased sharply in recent years. Engineers.have linked subsidence to the decline of subsurface water levels due to heavy groundwater withdrawals. An alternative water source, the importation and treatment of surface water, has been introduced, but relatively high prices have slowed its acceptance.