Hydrogeology of the Saline Edwards Zone, Southeast Travis County, Central Texas

Brian A. Smith
Brian B. Hunt
Bruce Darling

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Increased demand for water in central Texas is causing water users and providers to look for additional sources of water. The saline portion of the Edwards Aquifer (saline Edwards Aquifer) has often been mentioned as a source of water for desalination or aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). The resource has not previously been considered by large water suppliers because of limitations of data, regulatory framework, and fear of saline encroachment into the freshwater Edwards. Recent legislative efforts combined with hydrogeologic and engineering studies have renewed interest in the saline Edwards Aquifer. This report documents a hydrogeologic study conducted by the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (District) of the saline Edwards Aquifer in southeastern Travis County providing baseline information for an engineering study of desalinization and ASR. This hydrogeologic study is part of an engineering study is conducted by Carollo Engineers, Inc. and is partially funded by a Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) regional facility planning grant and the District. In August 2016, a multiport monitor well was installed to a depth of 1,100 ft through the entire saline Edwards Aquifer with 18 permanently isolated zones from which head, water chemistry, and permeability data can be collected. Four zones were completed in the units overlying the Edwards Group and 14 zones were completed within the Edwards and associated units. Data collected in the multiport well allow for the detailed hydrogeologic characterization of the various units.