Water Environment Federation (WEF)

Balancing Agricultural, Urban, and Environmental Water Needs in Water Resources

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Courtesy of Courtesy of Water Environment Federation (WEF)

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) – San Antonio Water System (SAWS) Water Project is a plan to conserve water, develop groundwater, and capture excess and unused river flows to meet future water needs for two neighboring regions in Texas. Agricultural and other rural water needs would be met on a more reliable basis in the lower Colorado River basin through water conservation, surface water development and limited groundwater production, while up to 150,000 acre-feet per year of surface water would be transferred to the San Antonio area to meet municipal needs.

The project is in its fourth year of detailed studies addressing the environmental, agricultural, socioeconomic, and engineering aspects of the project. The studies are developing river instream flow criteria, river water quality models, bay freshwater inflow criteria, surface water availability models and operating approaches, agricultural conservation models and approaches, groundwater availability models, economic models, and others. Current status and results are provided, including the complex issues related to operation of the project within the regulatory environment.

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