Colorado River Municipal Water District Gearing Up For Pilot Water Program

By Camaron Abundes  
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING- "We have limited water resources out here, looking at reuse and reclaiming, just makes sense," John Grant, General Manager of the Colorado River Municipal Water District, said.

Four years ago, Grant says members of CRMWD started thinking of ways to conserve water. In West Texas Grant says desalinization is one way to tap into reserves, another is to reclaim and reuse city waste water.

A 10 million dollar plant in Big Spring will act as a pilot program to test the system. CRMWD is in the final talks with the city of Big Spring and the engineering firm, in charge of the plans. Construction is expected to start next year.

"Not to be crude but people talk about it as toilet to tap, it's kind of a concept, but the technology exists to safely do that," Grant said.

Odessa, Big Spring and Snyder are all members of the Water District. Midland also purchases water from CRMWD. In the summer, CRMWD pumps 100 million gallons of water every day, by the time it ends up in your faucet, Grant says they've paid to move the water hundreds of miles from Lake J.B. Thomas, E.V. Spence Reservoir, and the O.H. Ivie Reservoir to 15 counties in West Texas.

"Pumping power, is a big part of our budget, we spend about 11 million dollars a year on electricity," Grant said.

The reuse pilot program is expected to not only save electricity but water. As water travels from your faucet through a water treatment plant and out into creeks and streams back into the CRMWD's three main water sources, some water evaporates.

Instead of traveling hundreds of miles back to the lakes and reservoirs, the water will be treated at a water treatment plant as normal and then it will get treated again at the new plant.

"We're going to run it through a membrane treatment plant, we're going to RO that water. Were going to take the salt out of it. We're going to blend it with the water system," Grant added.

Grant says it will save 20 percent of the CRMWD's annual water usage.