Aquifer storage and recovery in the Edwards Aquifers, Texas
Neil E. Deeds, Fred Blumberg, "Aquifer storage and recovery in the Edwards Aquifers, Texas", The Edwards Aquifer: The Past, Present, and Future of a Vital Water Resource, John M. Sharp, Jr., Geary M. Schindel, Ronald T. Green
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Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) is a proven water-supply strategy that uses an aquifer to store surplus water that will be available for later use when that stored water is needed. Although only three ASR systems are currently operating in Texas, recent incentives from the state, along with changes in regulatory framework, have helped to encourage consideration of ASR as a viable water-supply strategy. The changes in Texas law primarily reduced the power of groundwater conservation districts to regulate ASR, and they put the majority of the role of project authorization in the hands of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Two Edwards-named aquifers in Texas were considered in this work: the Edwards-Trinity (Plateau) and the Edwards (Balcones Fault Zone) Aquifers. Both of the aquifers have areas that appear to be suitable, from a hydrogeologic standpoint, for ASR. The Edwards hydrostratigraphic unit of the Edwards-Trinity (Plateau) Aquifer has generally good productivity and water quality. However, in some locations, the high natural gradient combined with low porosity may increase the design challenge due to bubble drift. These same characteristics exist in many areas of the freshwater portion of the Edwards (Balcones Fault Zones) Aquifer, although its high productivity makes for very attractive per-well recharge and recover rates. The lower natural gradient (and thus smaller potential for bubble drift) in the brackish portion of the Edwards Aquifer may make it a good candidate in areas where productivity is sufficient.