© 2023 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

SAWS CEO Tells Councilmembers Vista Ridge Won't Drain The Aquifer

Robert Puente is the CEO of the San Antonio Water System, SAWS.

Some citizens are asking San Antonio council members to postpone next week’s vote on raising water rates. They voiced their concerns during this morning’s council briefing on the San Antonio Water System’s (SAWS) future water supply.

SAWS has proposed a 50-percent rate increase over five years in water and sewer rates. The city agency says the increase is needed to pay for the Vista Ridge pipeline, ageing infrastructure and other water supply projects.

The 142-mile pipeline has drawn opposition from citizens who say it’s too expensive; undermines conservation; and could drain the aquifer that would be tapped in Burleson and Milam counties.

Over 100 Vista Ridge opponents who live over the aquifer or are SAWS customers protested at city hall Tuesday.  They delivered a petition with thousands of signatures that called for the pipeline project to be stopped.

During this morning’s hearing SAWS CEO Robert Puente assured council members Vista Ridge won’t drain the wells of rural landowners when the pumping starts.

“Current studies show there’s available water there, so much water there that even after 60 years that aquifer would only go down 1.6 percent,” Puente said.

A council vote on raising the rates is set for next Thursday. 

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.