Odds are you’ll never get a detailed look of San Antonio’s water and wastewater infrastructure – a massive system of pipes, water wells, pumps, storage tanks, treatment facilities, and pump stations that is mostly below ground. But it’s working hard for you every day to deliver water to your home or business while discreetly disposing of your used water in a responsible way.
Did you know San Antonio Water System (SAWS) maintains, inspects, and cleans more than 12,000 miles of water and sewer pipes throughout the city and county? That’s enough to stretch from South Texas to Australia!
Over the next five years, SAWS will spend $2 billion improving, repairing, and replacing water and sewer lines to ensure reliability of service to your home or business. So, when you turn on your tap to cook or brush your teeth, you can be confident that reliable service is always there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Addressing maintenance of infrastructure is not just a San Antonio issue but a national one. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified infrastructure investment needs for drinking water ($384 billion) and wastewater improvements ($271 billion) that total $655 billion to keep the country’s water and sewer infrastructure updated. And some say that number is on the low end.
At SAWS, we have an aggressive, proactive Capital Improvement Plan that addresses aging infrastructure and meets growth in a cost-effective manner. Here are some examples:
- A new 45-mile pipeline – dubbed the “integration pipeline” – adds water management flexibility to our massive underground water storage site in southern Bexar County to simultaneously produce, store, and recover water. This allows us to direct our diverse water supplies where they are needed most in our system, ensuring dependability.
- The Southwest Bexar Sewer Pipeline provides a backbone for wastewater service in the south and west areas of San Antonio, ultimately capable of providing service to more than 250,000 people in these fast-growing areas. It spans 32 miles – about the same distance as from San Antonio to Pleasanton. You can even drive a small car through sections of it. The pipeline now links far west and southern San Antonio to the Dos Rios Water Recycling Center. In addition, the project resulted in cost savings in other areas for ratepayers by eliminating at least 10 lift stations, reducing costs for upgrades and maintenance, as well as eliminating the need to expand other SAWS treatment facilities.
- In a responsible settlement agreementwith the EPA to reduce sewer overflows, SAWS will invest an additional $492 million in its sewer system over a 10-year period, ensuring a more reliable wastewater system for the future.
- In an agreement with Joint Base San Antonio, SAWS stands ready to provide water and new infrastructure to our military bases, further shielding them from potential base closures. In all, SAWS will provide a combined 20,450 feet of pipeline to local military installations.