NEWS – June 2014 – Texas drought and groundwater recharge, Austin, TX

Where to get the water – where to store the water were overarching themes for the AGWT’s annual Texas aquifer program held in Austin.  An audience of 150 people, comprised mainly of water managers, scientists, engineers, attorneys and water end-users heard thirteen Invited presenters discuss how to maximize water resources by adopting aquifer recharge strategies for storage & recovery using captured storm water, treated “used” water, desalinated brackish groundwater and oil & gas produce water.

            The pervasive drought conditions have put additional stress on groundwater resources in Texas but there is limited capacity for aquifers to buffer the effects of low rainfall over an extended period of time.  More attention is being given to brackish aquifers as potential supply sources for desalination and as direct sources for the needs of hydraulic fracturing operations for enhancing the recovery of both oil and gas. Rapid advances in treatment technologies are transforming the water needs of the oil & gas industry and reducing the likelihood of risks to groundwater.  Texas is facing the challenge of formulating water policy that takes account of changing hydrologic conditions. Conference discussion included consideration of policy options likely to be on the agenda in the next session of the Texas legislature.