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From Well to River

By DAVID TEWES , JULIE ZAVALA
Aug. 20, 2009 at 3:20 a.m.
Updated Aug. 21, 2009 at 3:21 a.m.


We’re in the middle of a drought. This begs the question, why is the city dumping millions of gallons of well water into the river? So we asked Lynn Short and Jimmy Roach of Victoria Public Works Department to explain. Here are their answers.

Why dump all that well water into the river?

The river flow is too low to draw water under its primary permit from the state. In order to get the river flow level up to requirement, the city began pumping 12 million gallons of well water a day into the river and withdrawing equal amounts from the Guadalupe River.

Why not just treat and then use the well water in the first place?

The water treatment plant is primarily set up to treat river water. It would cost money to change the procedure to treat well water. That would mean higher water bills.

What's the difference? Water is water, right?

Untreated water is considered to be “raw.” River water contains suspended solids such as dirt, sand, organic matter. Well water contains dissolved minerals such as iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfate.

Are we losing any water in the process?

Yes. Some evaporation occurs as water is pumped out of the well and as water is pumped out of the river. But for every 100 gallons of water taken out of the wells, the city is required to put back 110 gallons into the well.

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