The Southmost Regional Water Authority (SRWA) desalination plant is getting closer to finishing a major expansion. This project should be complete in the early part of 2015.

And what does this project mean? It means that a lot more drinking water will be able to be produced at the plant. That is critical as Brownsville and the surrounding area continues to grow and expand. The importance of SRWA is in the diversification of Brownsville’s drinking water supply.

SRWA first came into being after a harsh drought in the ’90s left the Rio Grande without much water and many communities enacting water-use restrictions. It became clear to BPUB that reliance solely on the Rio Grande was not the answer. There was a need to diversify the city’s water supply. With participants Valley Municipal Utility District #2, the city of Los Fresnos, the town of Indian Lake and Brownsville Navigation District, SRWA started construction in early 2003 and was in full production by 2005.

SRWA uses reverse osmosis membrane technology to treat brackish, or slightly salty, water for drinking water purposes. Take a look at the video below to learn more about how the process works.

SRWA currently produces about 6 million gallons of water daily, which accounts for about 20 percent of Brownsville’s drinking water needs. Once the expansion is complete, that number will jump to about 11 million gallons of water per day, or about 40 percent of Brownsville’s current drinking water needs. That’s a lot less water being taken from the Rio Grande, and a lot more water reliability for Brownsville. That water reliability is essential to support Brownsville’s continued rapid growth and expansion.

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