By this time next year, residents in the San Antonio area will be drinking water that is currently too salty to consume. The San Antonio Water System, SAWS, says that next October it will begin operating an inland desalination plant that will eventually become the largest of its kind in the country. 

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.

San Antonio Water System

The Castle Hills City Council is sending a message to San Antonio:  it thinks the Vista Ridge water pipeline proposed by the San Antonio Water System, SAWS, is a bad deal. 

Shelley Kofler / Texas Public Radio

BURLESON COUNTY -- Opponents of the Vista Ridge water pipeline are preparing for a public protest rally Tuesday.  Critics from San Antonio want council members to vote “no” on a 50 percent increase in water and sewer rates that will be needed to pay for the project. 

Property owners who live over the aquifer are driving to San Antonio for the protest.  Their concern is more basic.  They worry the water project will drain their wells and make their land worthless.

Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

San Antonio has moved a step closer to adopting a steep increase in water rates. City staff members are asking the council to approve a combined 15 percent rate increase over the next two years.


City Chief Financial Officer Ben Gorzell told council members the incremental rate increases are needed to replace aging wastewater lines and guarantee a new water supply. That includes building the 142-mile Vista Ridge pipeline that would deliver water from Burleson County about 30 miles from College Station.