The 79-mile stretch of Interstate Highway 35 in Texas from San Antonio to Austin is the transportation artery for one of the fastest-growing employment and population growth areas in the U.S.
Many municipalities and water entities currently supply water in the area – primarily from reservoirs in the Austin metropolitan area, and mostly from wells and imported groundwater in San Antonio. The suburban areas between these two cities also face critical challenges in keeping up with growing water supply demands. Currently, these suburban areas rely on a myriad of wells and smaller reservoirs which are susceptible to the effects of drought periods as well as collapse. New and additional water supplies in the growth corridor between San Antonio and Austin must be developed in parallel with the population’s needs, and the resources must be implemented and managed in a “sustainable and environmentally-conscious” manner by each of the various providers involved.
As an example, Texas Water Supply Company operates groundwater wells in a field that supplies water to the City of San Antonio, and is developing additional groundwater fields to supply the ever-growing population to the north of San Antonio. The company relies on extensive modeling to make sure the fields are managed in a sound way - without depleting the resource base.
When you have multiple utilities developing water supplies in such a concentrated growth area, how do you ensure that water supply needs are met while equally ensuring that the water resources in the area are protected and not depleted?
I will lead a panel on September 23rd at the National Water Environment Federation (WEFTEC) Conference in Chicago, IL where the challenge of providing water in such a complex and fast-growing area will be discussed. I am a hydrologist, environmental scientist and the Chairman of Texas Water Supply Company. I’ll be joined on the panel by two hydrologists, an attorney, and a water company manager. We will discuss how the challenging work of delivering adequate water supply in this area can be successfully achieved.
I believe the key to success in this area is to aim to supply water in a sustainable manner so that we can meet the economic needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This can be done with care and cooperation.
We expect an interesting discussion at WEFTEC and always welcome comments from the online community.
Dr. Raul Deju is a Partner at Brightstar Capital Partners who is the author of seven books. He previously was featured in a LinkedIn article about water infrastructure development.