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April 24, 2016

SAWS offers look inside desalination plant

Zachry Construction is part of a Zachry-led joint venture with the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) desalination project to transform brackish water into millions of gallons of drinkable water. Click here for more info.


By October, a San Antonio Water System plant under construction since 2014 will show whether it is worth its salt.

SAWS offered a tour recently of the desalination plant, which will turn brackish, or somewhat salty, groundwater into drinkable water.

When operations begin in six months, the facility in South Bexar County will be able to treat up to about 4.4 billion gallons of water annually. That’s roughly equivalent to the amount of water used by almost 100,000 people a year.

SAWS hopes that by 2026, it can expand the capacity to more than 11 billion gallons annually, but that is still uncertain.

“I’m excited from San Antonio’s perspective because we will have the largest brackish desalination plant in the country,” said state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee who has toured nearly all of Texas’ 44 large desalination plants.

Most of San Antonio’s water does — and still will — come from the Edwards Aquifer. For the desalination plant, SAWS will tap the lower part of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. Though the water there is salty, it is about 25 times less salty than seawater, SAWS has learned from drilling production wells near the plant at its Twin Oaks property.

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