Having enough water for growing populations in Texas is an important issue for city water utilities to anticipate. In the article Diversifying water portfolios, from the summer 2019 issue of txH2O, El Paso Water and San Antonio Water System (SAWS) describe the water management strategies they have implemented to supply enough water to their growing populations.
In an effort to reduce their reliance on groundwater from the Edwards Aquifer, SAWS made a plan to diversify their water sources. As of 2018, there were eight water sources being drawn from through 15 different projects. In 2001, SAWS completed the first phase of its purple pipe system to recycle treated wastewater for irrigation and industrial use — the largest direct reuse system in the country.
In El Paso, the main sources of water come from aquifers and the Rio Grande. To diversify their water sources, El Paso Water operates four wastewater reclamation plants and supplies about 5.83 million gallons of reclaimed water a day to golf courses, sports fields, construction sites and others. Another water source is the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant, the world’s largest inland desalination plant.