The Nation’s Largest Direct Recycled Water System
In 1999, SAWS began delivering highly treated recycled water to its commercial customers through its purple pipe system. Today, it is one of the largest direct recycled water systems in the nation, spanning over 130 miles. With over 20 years of operations, the recycled water produced from the SAWS Water Recycling Centers has proven important to SAWS diversification and conservation efforts.
SAWS delivers to over 80 recycled water customers. This includes: industrial and commercial users, golf courses, municipal parks, universities, military, healthcare etc. The recycled water system can provide up to 25,000 acre-feet per year, thereby conserving large amounts of potable water. Roughly, 12,000 acre-feet per year has been contracted, with more customers pending connection to the system every year to take advantage of the recycled water benefits:
- Cost effective for customers – lower cost alternative for irrigation and cooling purposes.
- Environmentally responsible – using recycled water reduces demand on our potable water supply.
The recycled water system was also designed to supplement base flows in the San Antonio River and Salado Creek. Annually, about 5,000 acre-feet per year is used to ensure flow during low flow periods or in the event of a drought. The result has been significant and lasting environmental improvements for the aquatic ecosystems in these streams.
In addition to supplying base flow to the San Antonio River and serving our recycled water customers, SAWS also supplied CPS Energy about 42,400 acre-feet of recycled water for use in their electrical generation in 2022. Combined, this accounted for about 59,500 acre feet of recycled water distributed, about 17.7 percent of SAWS’ total water demand (potable and non-potable) in 2022.
In San Antonio we have learned to turn wastewater into valuable resources. We call it our environmental “trifecta” of recycled water, organic biosolids and methane gas.
1 acre-foot = 325,851 gallons