Desalination: Growing opportunities in Texas
Published:September 10, 2019
Erika Mancha, W. Shane Walker, 2019. "Desalination: Growing opportunities in Texas", The Edwards Aquifer: The Past, Present, and Future of a Vital Water Resource, John M. Sharp, Jr., Ronald T. Green, Geary M. Schindel
Download citation file:
In Texas, the investigation and implementation of desalination began in the 1960s. The earliest operating desalination plants in Texas were in Port Mansfield (south of Corpus Christi) in 1965 and Dell City (far West Texas) in 1968. Since 1999, the number and capacity of desalination plants operating in Texas have steadily increased. In 2016, there were 49 municipal desalination plants in the state, and the total municipal desalination capacity was ~142 million gallons per day (537 million liters per day). The predominant desalination technology used today in municipal desalination plants is reverse osmosis, a membrane filtration process in which dissolved solids (salts) are removed from saline water by applying pressure and forcing the water through a semipermeable membrane. Three desalination plants are currently in operation within the Edwards-Trinity (Plateau) Aquifer boundaries, and additional desalination of brackish groundwater from the Edwards-Trinity (Plateau) and Edwards (Balcones Fault Zone) Aquifers can alleviate stress on water resources from projected population growth and lessen potential water scarcity in central Texas.
Figures & Tables
The Edwards Aquifer: The Past, Present, and Future of a Vital Water Resource
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
The Edwards aquifer system is one of the great karstic aquifer systems of the world. It supplies water for more than 2 million people and for agricultural, municipal, industrial, and recreational uses. The Edwards (Balcones Fault Zone) Aquifer in the San Antonio, Texas, area was the first to be designated a sole source aquifer by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1975. The Edwards Aquifer also hosts unique groundwater, cave, and spring ecosystems. This 27-chapter memoir reviews the current state of knowledge, current and emerging challenges to wise use of the aquifer system, and some of the technologies that must be adopted to address these challenges.