ASR allows water to be stored in a natural aquifer during periods when it is plentiful so that it can be withdrawn when water is needed.
AUSTIN, TX - Austin Water will begin work on an Aquifer Storage and Recovery pilot project, a key strategy to prepare for the effects of climate change and future severe droughts, following a Council vote to authorize contracts today.
Aquifer Storage and Recovery offers a tactic for storing water in a natural aquifer during periods when it is plentiful so that it can be withdrawn when water is needed. This water supply strategy is becoming more common in Texas and is used around the world. Storing water in a natural aquifer helps reduce costs associated with building storage alternatives and prevents evaporative loss.
Austin’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery project would store drinking water from existing water supplies after treatment at Austin’s water treatment plants. Multiple aquifers, including the Carrizo-Wilcox, Edwards, and Trinity aquifers will be evaluated for suitability during Phase 1 of the project. The project is intended to augment the City’s existing water supply and is not a strategy to develop native groundwater.
“This project will help Austin maximize locally available water resources and advances a key strategy identified in our Water Forward plan,” said Kevin Critendon, Assistant Director of Environmental, Planning, and Development Services at Austin Water. “As our city continues to grow and experience impacts from climate change, aquifer storage will help us meet water demand.”
Building an Aquifer Storage and Recovery project is part of the Council-approved Water Forward Plan, Austin’s 100-year Integrated Water Resource Plan, which includes conservation, reuse, and supply strategies. Modeling shows that there is need for 60,000 acre-feet of water from an Aquifer Storage and Recovery project by 2040 to improves Austin’s climate and drought resiliency. Water stored in an aquifer would also serve as a second source of water during emergency situations, such as water quality upsets.
“We must anticipate future needs and innovate to safeguard the resiliency of our community for future generations. Ensuring adequate and affordable water supply for our customers today and in the future is our focus. This project is an important part of Austin’s overall strategy,” said Greg Meszaros, Austin Water Director.
Austin Water and the consultant team will begin desktop modeling and field testing to evaluate potential sites for a pilot project. In addition to technical analysis, community engagement will be a key component of the team’s work throughout project. The project plan includes designing and constructing a pilot project by 2027.
Find more information at austintexas.gov/waterforward.
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