HOUSTON — Oil equals boom, especially in population right now. And Texas, in the midst of a significant energy rush, is seeing its towns and cities burst at the seams.
Three of the nation’s five fastest-growing cities, and seven of the top 15, are in the Lone Star State, according to new data from the US Census Bureau, part of a trend largely fueled by an oil boom.
Now these cities need to have enough roads, schools, water, and infrastructure to keep up — the growing pains of a surging population. And while it is viewed as opportunity, city planners are frazzled.
Odessa, Texas, smack-dab in the middle of the oil-rich Permian basin, is number 11 on the Census Bureau list. People are flooding the oil fields, booming thanks to new hydraulic fracturing technologies that allow drillers to access to once out-of-reach resources.
People are lured by higher-than-average salaries, but developers cannot build homes quickly enough, the schools are rapidly filling, and an overburdened water supply, made worse by a long drought, is stretched thin.
‘‘It’s a challenge to continue to provide services to the rising population when you’re competing with the same workforce and labor that the oil field is,” said Richard Morton, Odessa’s city manager.
San Marcos, a city between Austin and San Antonio, has topped the list of expanding cities with more than 50,000 people for the second year in a row, showing growth of 8 percent between July 2012 and 2013 to 54,076 people.
Frisco, a suburb about 30 miles north of Dallas, has had growth ‘‘so long and sustained that we’re used to it,’’ said Mayor Maher Maso. Just 15 years ago there were only five schools in Frisco’s main school district. Now, there are 56 and seven under construction, he said.
For Texas, though, water is a concern, highlighted by years of debilitating drought. Conservation is key, Maso said, and his city has distributed rainwater barrels, changed reuse policies, and is trying to make better arrangements to get water from a river on the Oklahoma border.
‘‘That resource is challenging, and we have to change the way we do things,’’ he said.