Protecting Our Water’s Quality

Protecting Quality through Diversion

Since our start almost 70 years ago, the District has worked in a challenging natural environment to provide adequate supplies of the best quality water possible at a reasonable cost.

The West Texas area is a naturally salt-rich region left over from the time when the area was the Permian Sea.

Oil and gas development began in the 1920s when little was known of environmental best practices. Brackish water would come in contact with fresh water supplies and abandoned wells were often left unplugged or improperly finished allowing the salt water to seep into local surface and groundwater supplies. As a result of this salt contamination West Texas’ usable water resources have been severely limited.

To address this problem, CRMWD led the 1970s initiatives to ban unlined pits and require proper well-plugging procedures. Today, the District continues to work closely with the Texas Railroad Commission and other agencies to monitor for and locate areas where salt pollution is or may be occurring. Constant sampling and analysis ensures that solutions can be put in place before high concentrations of salty water seeps into municipal supplies.

Diverted Water

In addition to its major water supply reservoirs, CRMWD has also developed a number of smaller side storage and evaporation reservoirs. The map above offers a snapshot of this important storage network that can hold over 100,000 acre-feet of water.

Through careful monitoring and water redirection, the District is able to redirect (“divert”) and pump salty water from the Colorado River and Beals Creek out of its main system and into a series of side reservoirs. There the water is contained until it evaporates or can be sold to oil companies for secondary recovery operations. This technique has kept over one million tons of salt from collecting in CRMWD’s reservoirs and impacting the quality of our municipal water supplies.

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