SAWS Earns Permits for One of Its Largest Water Supplies

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) has taken a major step forward to secure one of the largest non-Edwards supplies in its history. On July 13, the Gonzales County Underground Water Conservation District (GCUWCD) approved permits for SAWS to produce and transport up to 11,687 acre-feet of Carrizo Aquifer water from Gonzales County.

In 2006, SAWS applied for permits from GCUWCD to produce Carrizo Aquifer water in Gonzales County, but the permit was formally contested by several parties. Since that time, SAWS has worked cooperatively with its regional neighbors to reach settlement agreements with most of those parties to drop their opposition, including the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation, Canyon Regional Water Authority, Gonzales County Water Supply Corporation, and the City of Nixon.

“Throughout this project, we’ve worked closely with our Gonzales neighbors and other regional partners to come to an agreement that can truly benefit all of our communities,” said Robert R. Puente, SAWS president/chief executive officer. “These permit decisions are never easy, so we very much appreciate the hard and diligent work of the Gonzales County Underground Water Conservation District over the last several years.”

SAWS also continues to work with the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation on a partnership to use the Corporation’s infrastructure to transport water from Gonzales County to San Antonio. Instead of building a new pipeline, SAWS would “rent” available capacity in an existing pipeline owned and operated by Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation.

“SAWS has offered to become a paying customer of our system, helping our community pay its infrastructure debt and keep our water rates low. It’s a win-win partnership,” said Schertz City Manager Don Taylor.

In addition to the water produced with its GCUWCD permits, SAWS has discussed the potential purchase of water that is surplus to the current needs of its regional neighbors – investing in neighboring communities by becoming a paying customer of regional utilities. Up to 5,550 acre-feet of additional supply could be added to the total project as a result of potential agreements, for a total supply to San Antonio of up to 17,237 acre-feet per year.

The SAWS Regional Carrizo Aquifer Project is estimated to cost $131 million, with water for approximately 40,000 households expected to start flowing to San Antonio in late 2013.

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