Can Trinity Aquifer store water? Conservation study underway

A feasibility report on whether the concept of aquifer storage and recovery could work is officially underway. 

Nov. 17, the Buda City Council passed a resolution in support of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District’s (BSEACD) effort to secure a matching funds grant. That grant would be related to the Texas Water Development Board’s (TWDB) request for applications for demonstration of projects for alternative water supplies. 

The feasibility report will determine whether or not the Trinity Aquifer is capable of storing excess water during times in which water is plentiful.

The idea behind Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) is to be able to store water in a different groundwater formation, in this case, the Trinity Aquifer, so that it can be accessed during times of drought. 

Subsequently, local water supplies would be unaffected, even if pumping from the Edwards Aquifer were limited. 

“Essentially, this project serves to drought-proof our [water]supply, and make sure that we have plenty of water during dry years,” Buda Place 1 City Councilwoman Angela Kennedy said. 

Kennedy said during drought conditions, the BSEACD curtails the amount of water the city can pump from the aquifer. Depending on the severity of the drought, it has the regulatory authority to “reduce our pumping by [up to]50 percent, so we lose that water,” according to Kennedy.  

The City of Buda has implemented several water conservation projects over the past year.  

That includes the Purple Pipe project, which allows the recycling of treated effluent to irrigate lawns. 

Other water conservation measures include keeping Buda in a Stage One drought condition, and initiating advertising campaigns focused on water conservation.

Kennedy, who has a background in water resource engineering, encouraged city council and staff to look at the city’s communications regarding water. The move was in an effort to educate the public on the need to conserve, and the ability to communicate the status of resources. 

 “Just over the last couple of years, the city has hired water specialists,” Kennedy said. “In conjunction with that, we hired a communications specialist this year. We’re trying to be as transparent as possible because there are many pieces of the puzzle to maintain and grow our water resources.”

The feasibility report, which will take 3 to 4 years to complete, will determine whether or not the project is possible. 

The Trinity Aquifer formation and vicinity of its location are major components of deciding whether or not it’s something Buda can move forward with. Making sure the aquifer has the capacity and capability of having water stored in it is also another component. 

Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said ASR is “something that could potentially be implicated not only in Buda, but in the region.” 

“As a city it’s important to look at every option available, and I think that’s what we’re doing with this project,” said Todd Ruge, Mayor of Buda, “We’re really lucky to have someone like Angela [Kennedy] working with us and lending us some of her expertise and experience with water conservation.”

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