In Central Texas, a new brackish-groundwater desalination project is under construction. When complete, the project will be the largest inland desalination plant in the country, project officials say.

The San Antonio Water System will diversify the city's water supplies with this new facility. The total cost for the three-phase project is estimated at $411.4 million. Valued at $119.3 million, phase one is now under construction.

Zachry–Parsons is acting as construction manager-at-risk on the first phase of the brackish-groundwater desalination program, which consists of a new water treatment facility using reverse-osmosis technology, says Bill Roberts, project executive with Zachry Construction Corp.

"The scope of work also includes preconstruction-phase services, drilling four production wells, fitting out 12 production wells, fitting out six monitoring wells, a raw-water conveyance system more than 12 miles long, a treated-water conveyance system, a residuals disposal conveyance system, pre-injection facilities, drilling one injection well and fitting out two injection wells," Roberts explains. "This first phase will generate about 12 million gallons of water per day (mgd), or 13,440 acre-feet per year from the Wilcox Aquifer."

Phases two and three, which will deliver more than 30 mgd when operational, will be completed in 2021 and 2026, respectively, according to SAWS.

Construction is roughly 15% complete as of late September.

The accelerated time line required subcontractor selection, contract awards, subcontract terms negotiations, construction planning and submittal processing to occur on a fast-track schedule, Roberts says.