Presentation on theme: "DESALINATION How Critical Is It for the State to Develop Seawater Desalination Supplies? BILL WEST GBRA, General Manager 1."— Presentation transcript:
DESALINATION How Critical Is It for the State to Develop Seawater Desalination Supplies? BILL WEST GBRA, General Manager 1
Some Factors Affecting Desal Development in Texas Difficulty protecting existing water rights Difficulty developing new supplies Pitfalls of both surface and groundwater EARIP and Whooping Crane Lawsuit Potential Mussel Listings Seawater Desalination Costs/Issues 2
3 Difficulty Protecting Existing Water Rights Challenges facing the Legislature Every new lawsuit threatens existing water rights Population demand centers versus water supply locations Business development needs versus water rights holders
Difficulty Developing New Water Supplies Example: REGION L (20½ counties) Note: Last major water supply project completed in Region L was Canyon Reservoir (1964). Last major water reservoir completed in Texas was Jim Chapman Reservoir (1991). Capacity of 260,000 ac/ft. 4
Difficulty Developing New Supplies Region L ● Water Management Strategies (WMS) w/ Est. Firm Yield 5 Conservation Wimberley Woodcreek Proj. 4,4804,4804,4804,4804,4804,480 Simsboro Proj. 30,00030,00030,00050,00050,000 Reg. Carrizo Proj. for Basin 25,00025,00025,00025,00025,000 GBRA Mid-Basin Conj. Use GBRA Mid Basin (surface) Recommended WMSYear (acre-feet)
6 Difficulty Developing New Supplies Region L ● Water Management Strategies (WMS) w/ Est. Firm Yield LGWSP for GBRA Upstream 60,00060,00060,00060,00060,000 (reduced – w/o Exelon) 35,00035,00035,00035,00035,000 WMS Needing Further Study: Storage Above Canyon Brush Mgmt Above Canyon Seawater Desal for Region L Seawater Desal for Region L Alternative WMSYear (acre-feet)
Pitfalls of Surface Water and Groundwater Surface Water ● Difficulty obtaining permits ● Difficulty securing reservoir sites ● Issues associated with location of supplies and population demand centers Groundwater ● Difficulty obtaining permits ● Brackish groundwater as controversial as fresh ● EAA versus Day – TX Supreme Court ● DFCs 8
Who’s Water Is It? ● Reuse ● Surface Water ● Groundwater ● ASR 9 Pitfalls of Surface Water and Groundwater
EARIP and Whooper Lawsuit The Texas Legislature created a Recovery Implementation Program in May 2007 under Senate Bill 3 – This is a process under the ESA that brings together federal, state, and private stakeholders to work together to improve water management and recover endangered species. Deadline to resolve the Edwards Aquifer RIP is December
EARIP – Why all the fuss? ● Ensuring existence of at least 7 species designated as endangered under the ESA ● Maintaining flow at Comal and San Marcos springs during times of drought ● During droughts, flows from those springs are 80% of the source of Guadalupe flows in Victoria ● Almost 2 million people in the San Antonio area get about 95% of their water from the Edwards. ● Major swaths of the economy along the I-35 Corridor is connected to the Guadalupe and springflows at Comal and San Marcos springs 11 EARIP and Whooper Lawsuit
Whooping Crane Lawsuit: The Aransas Project (TAP) vs. Shaw (TCEQ) ● Claims that diversions of State fresh water have resulted in “takes” of Whooping Cranes 12 EARIP and Whooper Lawsuit
13 Lawsuit – Potential Consequences? ● Seeks injunction barring TCEQ from approving new water rights permits and seeks preemption of State water rights by Federal law (2 pending permits on Guadalupe) ● Overturn the State’s water rights regulatory process, and reduce or cancel existing water rights for municipal, industrial, and agricultural users ● Derail the EARIP and conflict with E-flows process ● Stall or halt new economic development EARIP and Whooper Lawsuit
14 Lawsuit – Other Factors … ● U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering nine species of mussels for listing under the ESA, and is being sued by WildEarth Guardians to act. Collectively, the mussels are found in almost every major river basin in Texas. So, the same legal logic in the whooper suit could be used on any other Texas river where there are endangered species. EARIP and Whooper Lawsuit
Seawater Desal Costs / Issues ● In Saudi Arabia, the practicality of constructing desalination plants to extract salt and other minerals from sea water became a necessity, and 27 plants have been constructed there, supplying 70% of the country’s drinking water and more than 28 million megawatts of electricity. 15 Note: Supposed to be world’s largest plant in the Eastern Province. Costs $3.8 billion in U.S. dollars. Carries fresh water to Saudi cities using 2,500 miles of water pipes.
16 Seawater Desal Costs / Issues Are construction costs too excessive? Are costs to the end-user acceptable? Are there acceptable ways to dispose of the brine? Long-term economical power supply is a major requirement. What happens when another Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurs?
17 DESALINATION IN TEXAS Due to the many obstacles to develop either surface or ground water projects, new economic development in Texas is in jeopardy. How Critical Is It for the State to Develop Seawater Desalination Supplies? ● Very Critical But the more relevant question may be … ● Will the state help permit and finance the infrastructure for seawater desalination projects?