El Paso Municipal Water Supply: Availability, Development and Management

Bill Hutchison, Ph.D., P.E., P.G. Independent Groundwater Consultant

Public Service Board Meeting September 12, 2012

1

Planning Process
• Compare supplies and demands decadally
– 2010 to 2060

• If supplies > demand
– No action needed

• If supplies < demand
– “Needs” – Develop “strategies” to meet “need”

2

Overview
• Discuss components of Regional Water Plan • Discuss context of EPWU strategies • Discuss how EPWU strategies fit into bigger state-wide picture (laws and regulations)

Major Components
• Provided by TWDB
– Demand projections

• Developed by Regional Planning Group
– Current Local Supplies – Additional Local Supplies – Future Imported Supplies

3

4

Per Capita Demand
• • • • • • 2010 = 142 gpcd 2020 = 145 gpcd 2030 = 143 gpcd 2040 = 141 gpcd 2050 = 140 gpcd 2060 = 140 gpcd

5

6

Current Local Supplies
• Rio Grande Diversion
– Customer of local irrigation district

• Groundwater
– Hueco Bolson (East of Franklin Mountains) – Mesilla Bolson (West of Franklin Mountains)

Current Local Supplies
• Rio Grande Diversion
– Customer of local irrigation district

• Groundwater
– Hueco Bolson (East of Franklin Mountains) – Mesilla Bolson (West of Franklin Mountains)

Conjunctive Management of Surface Water and Groundwater

7

Surface Water Plants Hueco Wells Mesilla Wells

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Conjunctive Use
• Under “Full” River Allocation
– “Full” Diversion – “Minimum” Hueco Bolson Pumping

Conjunctive Use
• Under “Full” River Allocation
– “Full” Diversion – “Minimum” Hueco Bolson Pumping

• Under “Drought” Conditions
– “Low” Diversion – “Maximum” Hueco Bolson Pumping

9

EPWU Supply
140,000 130,000 120,000 110,000 100,000 Acre-Feet/yr 90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0
5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000

27%

31%

16%
40,000

13%
30,000

6%
20,000

8%
10,000

60,000

50,000

35,000 30,000 25,000 25,000

25,000 25,000 70,000 75,000 80,000

40,000

50,000

60,000

1

2

3 Scenario

4

5

6

Reclaimed

Hueco

Mesilla

Rio Grande

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2020 to 2060
• Future Demands > Current Supply • Define Needs • Develop Strategies
– Additional Local Supplies – New Imported Supplies

Additional Local Supplies
• Conservation
– Reduction in Per Capita Use 3 gpcd/decade – Assumes 125 gpcd in 2060 – “Supplies” up to 22,000 AF/yr in 2060

• Reclaimed
– Increased by 6,000 AF/yr by 2060

11

Additional Local Supplies
• Recharge of Treated Surface Water
– 5,000 AF/yr beginning in 2020

• Treatment of Agricultural Drain Water
– 2,700 AF/yr beginning in 2020

Additional Local Supplies
• Additional Conjunctive Use
– Increased Rio Grande diversions (when available) and increased groundwater pumping during droughts – 5,000 AF/yr in 2020 – 15,000 AF/yr in 2030 – 20,000 AF/yr 2040 to 2060

12

El Paso County Agricultural Demands
• 2010 = 247,111 AF/yr • 2060 = 224,840 AF/yr

13

2040 to 2060
• Future Demands > Current Supply + Additional Local Supply • Define Needs • Develop Strategies
– New Imported Supplies

Potential Imported Supplies
• Capitan Reef Aquifer and Upper Salt Basin
– Diablo Farms in Hudspeth and Culberson Counties

• Bone Spring-Victorio Peak Aquifer
– Dell City Area in Hudspeth County

• West Texas Bolson and Igneous Aquifers
– Antelope Ranch in Jeff Davis and Presidio Counties – Wildhorse Ranch in Culberson County

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Dell City No PSB acres El Paso Diablo Farms ~ 29,000 acres Wildhorse ~ 21,000 acres Antelope ~ 25,000 acres

Importation Considerations
• • • • Distance (pipeline costs) Water quality (desalination) Current land ownership (PSB vs. non-PSB) Availability (quantity/sustainability)

15

2006 Regional Water Plan
• Considered all four sites • Developed 6 alternative scenarios
– Alternative local supply amounts – Alternative imported supply locations and amounts

• Selected preferred alternative (Scenario 6)
– Focused on Diablo Farms and Dell City – Wildhorse and Antelope were considered for post-2060 supply

2011 Regional Water Plan
• Compared to 2006 Regional Water Plan
– – – – Remained with Dell City and Diablo Farms Reduced importation amounts Delayed implementation Increased additional local supplies

16

Summary of Imported Supplies
• 2006 Regional Water Plan
– Begin in 2030 – Total in 2060 = 60,000 AF/yr

• 2011 Regional Water Plan
– Begin in 2040 – Total in 2060 = 30,000 AF/yr

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Strategy Costs (2011 RWP)
• • • • • • • Conservation Reclaimed Recharge of Surface Water Desalination of Ag Drain Water Expanded Conjunctive Use Importation from Dell City Importation from Diablo Farms $ 45/AF/yr $ 334/AF/yr $ 330/AF/yr $ 476/AF/yr $ 525/AF/yr $ 1,309/AF/yr $ 2,353/AF/yr

Key Questions
• Why import groundwater?
– Why not increase local supplies further?

• Will locals in Far West Texas “allow” export of groundwater to El Paso?

18

Brief History
• 1921 – First recognition of declining groundwater levels (limits on local groundwater) • 1985 – Wastewater effluent recharge project • 1991 – 50 year Water Resource Management Plan (Boyle) • 1991 – Adopted Water Conservation Ordinance

Brief History
• 1992 – Expanded surface water treatment capacity • 2004 – EPWU completed Hueco Bolson Groundwater Conditions Report • 2006 – Region E Plan update adopted • 2007 – EPWU completed KBH Desalination Plant

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Limits on Local Supplies
• Surface water
– – – – Drought Water rights Treatment capacity Transmission capacity

• Groundwater
– Groundwater levels – Groundwater quality

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21

22

25

22 SP1 401

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100+ ft decline Stable since late 1980s

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70+ ft decline Stable since early 1990s (plugged in 2009)

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80+ ft decline Stable from late 1980s to early 2000s

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ACE

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70+ ft decline Stable/Recovering since early 1990s

Wastewater Effluent Groundwater Recharge Project
• Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant • Project started in 1985 • Effluent used for:
– Power Plant Cooling – Golf Course Irrigation – Hueco Bolson Recharge (> 70,000 AF since 1985)

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29

30

Current Conditions
• Groundwater Levels
– Stabilized in most areas – Slight recovery in some areas – Slightly declining (again) in Mission Valley

• Brackish Groundwater Intrusion
– Being addressed through KBH Plant

F

B

31

Groundwater Flow – w/o KBH

Well 39 - Airport 200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 1950 1960 1970 1980 Year 1990 2000 2010

Chloride (mg/l)

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~ 75%

Groundwater Pumping – w/ KBH

Groundwater Flow – w/ KBH

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KBH Desalination Plant
• Redistribution of pumping (not an increase) when surface water is available • Intercept brackish groundwater • Protect fresh groundwater for increased pumping during drought periods

Previous Actions of PSB
• Extended availability of local supplies
– Conservation Ordinance – Investment in additional surface water rights and treatment capacity – Investment in wells – Investment in desalination facilities – Investment in transmission facilities – Investments in data collection and model development

34

Since 1990
• Reduction in per capita use • Increases in surface water diversions • Reduction in groundwater pumping

Since 2004
• Evolving understanding of limits of Hueco Bolson
– Investments in test hole and well drilling – Investments in data collection – Investments in model development and application

• Regional Water Plan updates in 2006 and 2011 reflect the improved understanding

35

Next Regional Water Plan
• Due in 2016 (every 5 years) • Expect continued evolution
– – – – Operational data Groundwater level and quality data Model update Model simulations

Local Supply Takeaways
• Conjunctive management of surface and groundwater provides for availability during droughts
– Limits (physical, institutional, infrastructure) – Continued investments will better define and overcome these limitations

• Planned use of local supplies increased between 2006 and 2011 Regional Water Plan

36

Key Questions
• Why import groundwater?
– Why not increase local supplies further?

• Will locals in Far West Texas “allow” export of groundwater to El Paso?

Acronyms
• • • • GCD = Groundwater Conservation District GMA = Groundwater Management Area DFC = Desired Future Condition MAG = Modeled Available Groundwater

37

Groundwater Conservation Districts
• First districts formed in early 1950s • Local management of groundwater resources • Preferred method of groundwater management • Currently – 99 districts

38

Groundwater Management Areas
• SB 2 (2001)
– TWDB designated 16 GMAs – “Voluntary” joint planning within a GMA

39

1 2 3 4 10 13 16 7
9

6 8 11
12

5

14

Groundwater Management Areas (GMAs)

15

HB 1763 (2005)
• Regionalized groundwater planning • Required joint planning
– GCDs within a GMA were required to establish desired future conditions (DFC) by September 1, 2010

40

Desired Future Condition (DFC)
• Quantified conditions of groundwater resources • Specified time or times in the future • Broad Policy Goal
– Drawdown – Spring flow – Storage volumes

• Updated at least every 5 years

DFC Factors (some)
• The water supply needs and water management strategies included in the state water plan • Socioeconomic impacts reasonably expected to occur • The impact on the interests and rights in private property, including ownership and the rights of management area landowners

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In Addition….
• The desired future conditions must provide a balance between
– the highest practicable level of groundwater production and – the conservation, preservation, protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of groundwater and control of subsidence in the management area.

Modeled Available Groundwater (MAG)
• Pumping that will achieve the DFC • TWDB calculates based on DFC
– Models

• Included in GCD Management Plans • One factor in permitting decisions • Replaces “Groundwater Availability” in Regional Water Plans

42

Relevant DFCs
• Adopted on August 13, 2010 by GMA 4 • Diablo Farms area
– Capitan Reef = 50 ft drawdown by 2060 – Upper Salt Basin = 50 ft drawdown by 2060

• Dell City area
– Bone Spring-Victorio Peak = 0 ft drawdown

Relevant MAGs (Issued by TWDB)
• Dell City = 101,429 AF/yr
– PSB pumping projected at 20,000 AF/yr in 2060

• Diablo Farms area = 24,414 AF/yr
– PSB pumping projected at 10,000 AF/yr in 2060

• Note that PSB pumping in both areas would represent change in use of current pumping
– Contrast to “new” pumping – Would require permits

43

Importation Takeaways
• Importation more expensive than local supplies • Limitations on local supplies may lead to importation at some time in the future
– Continue to improve understanding of local supply limitations – 2011 plan vs. 2006 plan = 10 year deferral and 50% reduction in amount

Importation Takeaways
• By including potential PSB importation projects in Regional Water Plan
– – – – GCDs must consider as part of DFC Included in MAG Included in GCD management plan Eligible for financing from TWDB

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El Paso Municipal Water Supply: Availability, Development and Management

Overall Summary
• Availability
– Limitations on local groundwater supplies were first recognized in 1921 – Since 1990, actions and investments have resulted in a diverse portfolio of water resources – Conjunctive management provides for availability during drought conditions

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Overall Summary
• Development
– Expected population growth will result in increased water demands – Continued need for infrastructure – Continued need for non-traditional local supplies (re-use?) – Continued need for data collection and analytical tools

Overall Summary
• Management
– Local water resources are limited
• Physical • Institutional • Infrastructure

– PSB investments have defined and helped overcome these limitations – PSB is an active participant in regional water planning

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Questions?

Bill Hutchison 512-745-0599 billhutch@texasgw.com

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