SAWS stores record amount of water, desal plant nears completion

Water storage continues at Aquifer Storage and Recovery facility

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – The San Antonio Water System reached a milestone last week when it announced that their Aquifer Storage and Recovery Facility (ASR) in southern Bexar County reached a record 100,000 acre feet of water.

"Nobody else is doing what we're doing,” ASR Plant Manager Robert Macias said.

The state-of-the-art facility continues to surprise people in its ability to store water and now engineers believe it may be able to hold twice as much. It leads the country in that regard. As for what 100,000 acre feet is equivalent to ...

"About 33 billion gallons of water; that’s a lot of water,” said Lilliana Gonzales, spokeswoman for SAWS. "This is an opportunity to claim everything that we actually paid for and save it in a bank account for our ratepayers."

SAWS has not needed to take out a deposit from the ASR since last summer and there are no intentions to change that for now.

"Until the end of May, we'll just keep saving water,” Macias said.

Should a dry summer take hold, water will then be pumped back into San Antonio from the ASR for use.

"We can't solve all of San Antonio's problems, but we did make sure that in the last five years we didn’t have to go into Stage 3 restrictions,” Macias said.

As of Wednesday, around 40 million gallons of water per day were being pumped into the ASR for storage.

At the same site, SAWS desalination plant is nearing completion. The plant is expected to add even more water into San Antonio’s “portfolio.” It is expected to come online in October, and once fully operational, will be the largest in the state.

With both facilities providing water for San Antonio, some have asked why the proposed Vista Ridge pipeline, a 142-mile pipeline that will bring water from Burleson and Milam counties to San Antonio, is necessary.  According to SAWS, it remains about diversity.

“It’s good to have multiple resources because it ensures that we are not dependent on one sole source,” Gonzales said.

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