The Time is Now to Secure Long-Term Resources: Part 1

Chris Callahan

Note: This is the first part in a series. Read part two here.

Securing a safe and reliable source of water is a primary goal for any municipality. This is especially so in Texas, which in recent years has experienced record-breaking droughts and population growth.

Currently, Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) population growth estimates predict an additional 12 million people in Texas by 2050. Coupled with the Environmental Protection Agency prediction of increased temperatures and precipitation decreases throughout Texas, securing long-term water resources has never been more important.

In February 2018, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers granted a permit for the construction of the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir near Bonham, Texas. The reservoir will be the first major reservoir to be permitted and built in the state of Texas in nearly 25 years. Due to the inherent difficulties associated with building a new water supply reservoir, many municipalities have turned to groundwater resources over new surface water reservoirs, as they are viewed as a low-cost, drought-proof option. However, groundwater quality varies across the state, and in some cases, the aquifer is brackish, contains elevated nitrates (agricultural areas), contains other constituents (such as heavy metals or radionuclides) or is under the direct influence of surface water, requiring additional treatment beyond disinfection thereby increasing costs.

Identifying quality groundwater supplies can help limit capital and annual costs associated with providing clean drinking water; however, not all municipalities have the luxury of being located near fresh groundwater resources. Brackish and/or impaired groundwater and groundwater under the influence (GUI) of surface water offer unique options for water sources as municipalities look toward the future.

In order to utilize these sources, utilities have turned to advanced treatment solutions such as microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration or reverse osmosis. Acessing and treating the impaired or GUI groundwater requires close coordination (including a pilot test for membrane treatment systems) with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

Contact Mark Graves or Simone Kiel to see how we can help you diversify your drinking water with fresh, brackish and GUI groundwater resources across Texas. Our experience encompasses developing groundwater feasibility studies and management plans, designing and constructing membrane treatment systems, securing state and federal funding, to coordinating with TCEQ to achieve compliance with drinking water standards.

The time to secure your long-term resources is now.