Land commission looking at Texas desalination

The Texas General Land Commission (GLO) has contracted two consulting firms to investigate the possibility of brackish-water desalination north of New Braunfels.

Land commissioner Jerry Patterson has announced that the GLO is studying the hydrology and geology of several Permanent School Fund tracts of land along the I-35 corridor with the intention of tapping into Texas' abundant brackish groundwater, desalinating it and selling it.

"If the water is there, then I think the School Land Board (of which Patterson is chairman) is ready to invest the time and resources needed to deliver an entirely new and drought-resistant source of water for Central Texas," Patterson said. "This is a game-changer, a commonsense fix for the Texas water crisis."

"Adding desal to the mix would help mitigate the impact of a drought on the Highland Lakes," Patterson said. "Desal in Central Texas would help all the way to the coast."

Patterson said he hopes to develop a groundwater desalination model that could be replicated on other state-owned tracts of land all over Texas. "Texas has an abundance of brackish water," Patterson said. "I hope to put the General Land Office in the water business statewide."

Statesman.com reported on 9 July 2012 that the contracted consultants are Austin-based Intera, a geosciences and engineering company, and Colorado-based Malcolm Pirnie, the water division of engineering company Arcadis.

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