News Feed Item

Brackish Groundwater Allows SAWS to Go Big with Desalination

Utility to recommend rejection of three private proposals as too risky

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- San Antonio Water System (SAWS) staff will recommend to its Board on Monday the pursuit of additional brackish groundwater supplies through a proposed groundbreaking partnership with CPS Energy to co-locate a natural gas plant on the same site as an expanded brackish desalination (desal) plant.

Beyond the currently planned desal plant in southern Bexar County, SAWS has concluded that additional desalination capacity is feasible in the local area.

"Brackish groundwater is plentiful and unused in our region, and available for centuries," said SAWS President and CEO Robert R. Puente. "The State of Texas views desalination as a solution to meet future water demands, and so do we."

With the availability of brackish supplies in adjacent counties, further expansion of a desalination facility in partnership with CPS Energy could occur on the same site as the currently planned desal plant, the existing Aquifer Storage and Recovery plant, and a third project increasing yield from the local Carrizo Aquifer in southern Bexar County. This co-location would save money on additional land as well as consolidating management and operation of several water supply projects.

As part of Monday's recommendation, Puente is also expected to announce the rejection of three private groundwater projects proposing to pipe up to 50,000 acre-feet of water per year to San Antonio from outlying areas in the state.

The request for new water supplies issued by SAWS was meant to shift all risk to a private developer, calling for the developer to build the project and deliver water to a local SAWS pump station. One private company, however, was unable to guarantee that water would be available throughout the life of the project while still requiring payments from SAWS.

"The highest ranked proposal was unwilling to assume the risk of water being cut off by the groundwater district that regulates the supply," said Puente of the project proposed by Abengoa Water LLC. "We are also unwilling to ask our ratepayers to absorb the cost of a project with potentially no water."

The private proposals would have required annual payments of up to $85 million for thirty years, and a rate increase of approximately 9% to 12% in 2019, not including infrastructure integration costs.

Groundwater conservation districts have the authority to regulate withdrawals of water from aquifers, often with little notice or process for appeal. SAWS has experienced the curtailment decisions of groundwater districts in the past.

"Groundwater law in Texas leaves too much uncertainty and risk for the private and public sectors," added Puente. "I hope that the proposers and cities across the state will join SAWS in calling for the legislature to change the law so Texans can build projects to meet growing future demand."

A second proposal from Dimmit County prompted the local Wintergarden Groundwater Conservation District, from which permits would be needed, to pass a resolution to "specifically oppose the exportation of large quantities of groundwater from Dimmit and Val Verde counties, as is being considered by the San Antonio Water System."

The third proposal from Val Verde County has been met by fierce regional opposition and threats of legal challenges and the formation of a groundwater district with the purpose of impacting the proposed project.

Instead of committing to one of the proposed projects, SAWS plans on pursuing the expansion of brackish groundwater desalination in partnership with CPS Energy to ensure long-term supplies for the region.

Costs of an expanded desalination project can be spread over time as the water is needed. A public desalination plant could also be eligible for Proposition 6 funding from the Texas Water Development Board, while the proposed projects are not.

"We appreciate the leadership of state officials attempting to remove the regulatory hurdles facing brackish groundwater development, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that such legislation is passed next session," said Puente.

Due to the flexibility provided by proactive planning and successful water management in recent years, an expanded desal project can be planned for the mid-2020s, instead of the 2018 date planned for the private proposals.

Outdoor water conservation efforts, for example, helped San Antonio achieve an estimated 2013 per capita water use of 127 gallons per day, surpassing the planning number of 135, allowing current water resources to stretch further and avoiding Stage 3 watering restrictions to date.

Additionally, the Regional Carrizo Aquifer project is now on line, and the Aquifer Storage and Recovery facility is exceeding expectations during drought.

Since 1992, San Antonio Water System has been a leader in innovative water management strategies, making San Antonio water's most resourceful city. Water and wastewater services are provided to 1.6 million consumers in the San Antonio region.  

Greg Flores
210-233-3247 (office)
210-286-5217 (cell)

SOURCE San Antonio Water System

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Successful transition from traditional IT to cloud computing requires three key ingredients: an IT architecture that allows companies to extend their internal best practices to the cloud, a cost point that allows economies of scale, and automated processes that manage risk exposure and maintain regulatory compliance with industry regulations (FFIEC, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FISMA). The unique combination of VMware, the IBM Cloud, and Cloud Raxak, a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor in IT Automation, provides a co...
Today every business relies on software to drive the innovation necessary for a competitive edge in the Application Economy. This is why collaboration between development and operations, or DevOps, has become IT’s number one priority. Whether you are in Dev or Ops, understanding how to implement a DevOps strategy can deliver faster development cycles, improved software quality, reduced deployment times and overall better experiences for your customers.
Donna Yasay, President of HomeGrid Forum, today discussed with a panel of technology peers how certification programs are at the forefront of interoperability, and the answer for vendors looking to keep up with today's growing industry for smart home innovation. "To ensure multi-vendor interoperability, accredited industry certification programs should be used for every product to provide credibility and quality assurance for retail and carrier based customers looking to add ever increasing num...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Apache Hadoop is a key technology for gaining business insights from your Big Data, but the penetration into enterprises is shockingly low. In fact, Apache Hadoop and Big Data proponents recognize that this technology has not yet achieved its game-changing business potential. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, John Mertic, director of program management for ODPi at The Linux Foundation, will explain why this is, how we can work together as an open data community to increase adoption, and the i...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...