Large underground aquifers near San Antonio contain brackish (higher salinity) water that is a viable source of water for human and industrial consumption because of more efficient and cost-effective desalination technology. Tetra Tech is at the forefront of transforming unusable water into the water supply communities need. The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) expects to deliver 12 million of gallons per day (mgd) of water to its customers when the plant opens in 2016.

Population and industrial growth, combined with three years of drought, have exhausted the supply of water available to many Texas communities, forcing state and local agencies to drill for water. SAWS selected Tetra Tech as part of a multidisciplinary team to design one of the state’s largest brackish water desalination plants to diversify the city’s water supply. Brackish ground water desalination is a viable alternative water supply to help meet the growing demand for water in Texas without further diminishing lake and stream levels.

The $150 million project includes multiple brackish wells, reverse osmosis treatment, three deep injection wells for disposing concentrate, 11 miles of pipeline, and associated pump stations. Given the project’s size, fast-track schedule (final design in less than a year), and that local small businesses must complete 30 percent of project work, Tetra Tech used resources from multiple offices to complete the facility’s design. Our partners are designing the system controls, raw water wells, raw water pipelines, concentrate pipelines, and deep injection wells.

Before design commenced, team members and client staff toured Tetra Tech-designed desalination facilities. The program continues to rely on many aspects of Tetra Tech’s past projects.

SAWS initially expects to deliver 12 mgd of water to its residential and commercial customers, increasing to 30 mgd by 2025.

Watch a news highlight and read an article from KSAT about the current status of the plant here.