From the Ground Up - Technology Solutions For Texas’ Water Plan

As the state of Texas begins to implement its water plan, different strategies will be employed that include conservation as well as the use of new technologies. Monty Dozier is a Regional Program Leader for Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Agricultural/Natural Resources Southeast District Nine.

“Desalination is probably the biggest thing that’s being looked at now. Large scale de-sal, where they take gulf water, or in the case of El Paso, they’re actually taking brackish ground water that doesn’t meet water quality standards. One of the largest de-sal plants in the world happens to be in El Paso, Texas, a long way from the Gulf Of Mexico.”
The plant is a result of a partnership between the city of El Paso and Fort Bliss.

“Probably one of the ones that’s most famous here recently is the treating of the waste water at Wichita Falls, so instead of treating that waste water to minimum standards, they’re actually treating that waste water to drinking water standard, putting it back into the ground to be used at a later date.”

Some cities are looking for landscape irrigation alternatives.
“If you go through a city and you see a purple pipe, that’s typically, or that is, not typically, that is reclaimed water, reclaimed waste water, and so a lot of the irrigation demands for larger cities are met through the purple pipe program, so it’s waste water they’ve treated to a level that’s safe to be applied as irrigation into the landscape. So if we can take water that’s used for the landscape, then we can conserve the water that’s set in the ground that might be pumped back up for agriculture. So we’re making a trade-off, that we can’t make new water, we’re not in the business of making new water, but we can change the face of that water, or the quality of that water.”

Although, the state water plan has eight sites designated as areas suitable to build reservoirs, Dozier doesn’t think any more reservoirs will be built.

“We’ve probably built most of the reservoirs that we’re going to have, that will yield enough water to be suitable to invest. The other thing, you talked about eminent domain, it takes, I’ve seen estimates of thirty to thirty-five years to get a reservoir on line because of the environmental issues that you have to deal with, the landowner issues that you deal with.”