Texas is a large state that requires up to 12 billion gallons of water per day. This is beginning to pose a problem as drought conditions have become more prevalent recently.
While droughts have increased, so has population and the need for water. This has led to sourcing water from farther away and tapping wells to fill in where surface water cannot sustain the needs of the population.
Some cities, like San Antonio, are having to search for sources that have yet to be identified. Undoubtedly, the water will need to travel a decent distance before ending up in water treatment facilities.
As the water travels longer distances, it faces more opportunities for contamination and mineral deposits. This contamination and the required treatment by municipalities leads to many problems with unpleasant symptoms.
Mineral buildup causes issues of its own and is a featured problem for many Texas water-users.
Common Water Problems by City
Texas is a state that features vast distances between major cities. However, the population concentration in the urban centers is dense and requires significant resources.
Each city features its own issues with the water supply and problems can vary within an area as well. Hard water is an issue for Texas public water supply across the board. This is caused by a high level of dissolved minerals, often picked up as water heads from treatment to the tap.
San Jacinto River
Hard Water From High Mineral Content
High in Calcium
High in Ammonia
High in Chlorine
Dissolved Minerals Leading to Hard Water
Houston sources its water from two surface water suppliers - the Trinity and San Jacinto rivers. Like much surface water, Houston features a mineral-laden water that is known as hard water.
Hard water leads to dry skin, laundry stiffening, and the buildup of limescale on faucets and other water outlets. Hard water can also cause damage to appliances that use the water.
San Antonio is in the midst of finding other sources of water. The current source, the Edwards Aquifer, is failing to replenish itself. As it stands now, water is taken from the aquifer and the held in underground storage (so it does not evaporate).
San Antonio treats water at one location with chemical treatments before it is sent to the many customers throughout the city. With such a natural resource and the addition of chemicals, San Antonio suffers from hard water.
Dallas and its large population make use of seven lakes and reservoirs to provide enough water for consumption. The primary sources are Lake Ray Hubbard, Lake Ray Roberts, Lake Grapevine, Lake Lewisville, and Lake Tawakoni.
The water from these sources travels distances through both urban and agricultural areas. This provides many opportunities for contaminants to enter the supply. Dallas resolves this issue by treating the water with ammonia and chlorine.
High levels of chlorine can lead to some unbalance in the intestinal microbiome and cause immune system issues. Additionally, the area is known for hard water caused by dissolved minerals. This can cause dry skin and dull hair.
Austin uses one primary water source - the Colorado River. The water is diverted directly to treatment plants that add chlorine to disinfect it.
Chlorine can impact the bacteria in the gut, leading to problems with the immune system in vulnerable people. Austin features hard water full of dissolved minerals. This is not unsafe but causes issues like dry, itchy skin and soap scum.