SAWS Kicks Off Brackish Desalination Project
San Antonio Water System today kicked off its brackish desalination project by celebrating the drilling of brackish groundwater production wells. With the first phase of the project scheduled to come online in 2016, the facility will produce about 10 million gallons of new water each day from the Wilcox Aquifer in southern Bexar County.
"Utilizing brackish water allows our community to make the most of a previously untapped resource," said Robert R. Puente, SAWS President/CEO. "San Antonio continues to invest in new sources to help us meet the city's water needs over the next 50 years while reducing dependency on the Edwards Aquifer."
Brackish groundwater is a plentiful, mostly unused local source of water that will help diversify San Antonio’s supplies. SAWS will pump brackish water, or water that is too salty to drink, and treat it to drinking water standards using a reverse osmosis water treatment facility. The plant will be located at the existing SAWS Twin Oaks Aquifer Storage and Recovery site, and draw brackish water from 13 production wells more than 1,500 feet deep.
The first phase of the project will produce about 10 million gallons per day of non-Edwards water for the city. The second phase, projected to come online in 2021, will bring another 10 million gallons per day to San Antonio, and the final phase in 2026 will provide an additional 5 million gallons per day.
SAWS is already ahead of schedule on implementation of the 50-year Water Management Plan. Last year, an agreement was signed with the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation to "rent" available capacity in their pipeline to bring water from the Carrizo Aquifer in Gonzales County to San Antonio. The Regional Carrizo project is expected to bring water for about 60,000 households beginning in late 2013.
In addition, SAWS Aquifer Storage and Recovery site in south Bexar County continues to exceed expectations. Last summer, the facility played a major role in staving off Stage Three water restrictions. Water stored underground at the site supplied 40 million gallons per day to San Antonio during the hot, dry summer months. Currently, more than 90,000 acre-feet of Edwards water, or more than 29 billion gallons, is stored underground for future use.
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