Drilling starts for SAWS brackish-water desalination

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) in Texas, USA, launched work on its 25 MGD (95,000 m³/d) brackish-water desalination system on 27 March 2012.

The first task is to drill 13 production wells down 1,500 ft (500 m) into the Wilcox aquifer in southern Bexar County. The first 10 MGD (37,850 m³/d) phase is due to come online in 2016.

“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.”

The plant will be located at the existing SAWS Twin Oaks Aquifer Storage & Recovery site, which opened in 2004 and has already proved its worth. Last summer, the facility played a major role in staving off severe water restrictions.

Water stored underground at the site supplied 40 MGD (150,000 m³/d) to San Antonio during the hot dry summer months. Currently, more than 90,000 acre-feet (100 million m³) of water from the Edwards aquifer is stored underground for future use.