Future of Victoria’s Water

Victoria – Water demand is growing. Officials with the Texas State Demographic Center, are predicting Texas nearing 40 million people within the next 20 years. With only so much water available at any given time, how will the city of Victoria provide water to a growing community? I took that very concern to the water for Texas Conference held in mid January. This conference brought together experts, politicians and concerned citizens to discuss how the state plans to meet future water needs. As Texas grows, so will its water needs. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick expressed the need for an immediate statewide action plan. “There has got to be a long term solution to the water issues that we face, otherwise we are not going to be able to keep up with that growth,” Texas Water Development Board chairman Bech Bruun says planning for future water needs starts at the local level.
“The challenge for any local community is to evaluate all the different options and to come up with the one that’s both cost effective for that community but that will also provide a secure source of water way out into the future.” The city of Victoria sees a solution to secure our water future, and it’s right under our noses. “This water well here inside Riverside Park could very well be a major player for the city of Victoria’s future water needs.” The city is in the process of developing a new underground aquifer water and recovery storage system. This new aquifer will run the length of Riverside Park. “Aquifer storage and recovery is a technique for storing treated water during times of plenty, and then making that that water available for use during times of drought or other times of need,” said Lynn Short, City of Victoria Public Works Director.
How it works is, water is pumped from the Guadalupe, then the treated water will be pumped into a porous sandy layer of the underground aquifer and stored, then when the water is needed it will be pumped out and distributed through existing the water system. Water will be stored in the aquifer during the winter, for a good reason. “Water consumption is down, because people aren’t irrigating their landscapes as much as they are in the summer, and its typically a wetter period, so there is typically more water in the river,” said Short. Lynn Short is working directly with the Texas Water Development Board, and is very optimistic this system is a positive step forward securing Victoria’s water future above and below ground.
“The land above it can still be used for other purposes, you not dangering and endangered species, and we don’t have the evaoporative losses. ” With more water available, water restrictions could be a thing of the past. “If you’ve got alternate supplies, that could certainly alleviate drought restrictions, or at least reduce the amount of time you are on drought restrictions,” said Short.
Initially the target aquifer capacity that the city is hoping for is 3,900 acre feet of water, and when you do the math, that is equivalent to over one billion gallons of water stored under Riverside Park. “Then incrementally our time on future projects will be enable more phases, converting some of our other wells to AR and drilling some new wells,” said Short. Aquifer storage and recovery is a relatively new method of water conservation and its popularity is growing.
Bruun feels strongly that underground storage will play an important role to meeting Victoria and the states future water needs. “Its a great strategy, and one that we hope to see more of in the future, and Victoria is already on the forefront for putting that in place,” said Bruun.
Testing will begin in December 2017 and take one year. If successful, the aquifer storage plan will go into operation in early 2019. If you want to know more about Texas’ water needs, visit www.twdb.texas.gov