The San Antonio Water System’s (SAWS) desalination plant plunges deep into the Wilcox Aquifer and pumps salty (brackish) water from nearly 1,500 feet underground. Retrieving and filtering this water reduces dependence on the drought-sensitive Edwards Aquifer. This benefits residents as the desalinated water produced by the SAWS plant is plentiful and unaffected by drought conditions.
The plant can produce 12 million gallons per day of finished water —enough to supply up to 53,000 households.
Desalination uses a filtering process called reverse osmosis that removes 99.9% of the salts and minerals from the water. Once treated, the water tastes the same as Edwards Aquifer water. Every 10 gallons of brackish water is converted to nine gallons of drinking water. The salts and minerals that are removed are then injected deep into the ground to an area where existing salt concentrations are higher. Injection wells used to dispose of the concentrate/brine are more than a mile deep. DSI provided and installed the entire reverse osmosis system as well as the pumps for the production/injection sites and the majority of the pipe, valves, fittings, tanks and other equipment necessary for the desalination process to function as designed.