Challenge. Determine if aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) represents viable water management strategy for supplementing the Utility’s existing supply during periods of drought

Solution. INTERA provided hydrogeological expertise and analyses as a key member of a consulting team that completed a feasibility assessment of the potential for ASR to serve as a water management strategy for New Braunfels Utility (NBU). While NBU has a diverse inventory of surface and groundwater supplies, most of the supply sources are subject to cutbacks during times of drought. In fact, the annual supply can be reduced by as much as 50% during a repeat of the drought of record (DOR). This project evaluated ASR as a means of supplementing the various NBU supply sources through a repeat of the DOR. INTERA performed a study of the hydrogeology of the region to provide guidance on the productivity and suitability of aquifers and other formations. This included a survey of the characteristics of existing wells in the area (in the Trinity Aquifer) and the review and analysis of geophysical logs to help evaluate deeper units (such as the Hosston-Sligo) that are not currently being pumped. INTERA also analyzed the hydrogeology of the brackish portion of the Edwards Aquifer in the region as a potential ASR site. This included determining the probable brackish water production rate, the water quality of this raw source, and the feasibility of disposing of the saline waste stream through a deep injection well. We also provided initial cost estimates for construction and operation of the production and disposal wells. Results of the assessment determined that ASR is a technically feasible solution warranting further development through the implementation of a pilot-phase project.