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Salinity Control on the Pecos River

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Salinity Control on the Pecos River. Robert E. Mace, Ph.D., P.G. presented at the Multi-State Salinity Coalition’s Salinity Summit January 26, 2012; Las Vegas, NV. figure from Wikimedia Commons. Pecos River. Length: 929 miles Drainage Basin: 44,402 square miles - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Salinity Control on the Pecos River

A Solution to Dissolution? Mitigating the Impacts of Salt on Texas-New Mexico Water Supplies

Salinity Control on the Pecos RiverRobert E. Mace, Ph.D., P.G.

presented at the Multi-State Salinity Coalitions Salinity SummitJanuary 26, 2012; Las Vegas, NV

figure from Wikimedia CommonsPecos RiverLength: 929 milesDrainage Basin: 44,402 square milesDischarge near Langtry, Texas:Average of 265 cfsMaximum of 152,910 cfsMinimum of 42 cfsEmpties into Lake Amistad

Pecos RiverReservoirsNew Mexico -- TexasSanta Rosa - Red BluffSumnerAvalonBrantleyPecos River Compact (ratified in 1949)Pecos River Settlement Agreement (2003)

Horsehead Crossing

circa 1850

Permian Evaporite Depositsfrom Miyamoto & others (2007)Sources of SalinityGroundwater dischargeSalt springs at Bottomless LakesEast of Roswell300,000 tons per yearSalt springs at Malaga BendJust north of stateline 150,000 tons per yearSalinity in river = 4,100 ppmLower flows in river (= less dilution)Flows at Malaga Bend210,000 acre-feet in 195966,000 acre-feet in 2001


Bottomless Lakes

Malaga Bend

from Miyamoto & others (2007)Salinity at Red Bluff

Salinity Plot Near Amistad

ImpactsRed Bluff ReservoirSalt loading478,000 tons per year from Pecos River80,000 tons per year from Delaware RiverOutflowOutflow from reservoir: 410,000 tons/yearTDS of water = 6,000 ppmToo high for most cropsSalinity at Girvin: 12,000 ppmSalt loading for Lake Amistad26% from Pecos River (10% flow)

13Control History1938: NM State Engineers Officenotes large amounts of salt discharging into Pecos River at Malaganotes source of water from the Rustler Formation1942: USGS (C.V. Theis) estimates the flow and suggests diverting it1954: USGS proposes cutting off the bend or pumping groundwater to intercept the flow

14Control History (cont.)1958: Congress authorizes the Malaga Bend Salinity Alleviation Project First salt control project of its kind in the U.S.Construction by Bureau of ReclamationData collection by USGSRight of way acquired by NMOperation and maintenance by Texas1962: Construction starts220 ft well~2 miles of pipeDischarge to unlined but compacted 50-acre evaporation pond


Malaga Bend

Control History (cont.)1963: Pumping startsBy December 1964, 1,000 acre-feet of water pumped removing 300,000 tons of saltDecreases brine inflow to river by 70 percentPossible leakage from depression1963 to 1968About 3,878 acre-feet of brine is pumped1970: Texas proposes to pump the brine to Culberson County (Texas) for enhanced oil recovery (EOR)1972: Pumping for EOR starts1977: EOR pumping stops due to problems with the pump and casing

17Control History (cont.)1993: Pumping stops due toA need to re-engineer the pondConcerns that pond was hazard to water fowlLack of interest by United Salt Company to operate facility1995: BuRec conducts study of benefits of salt control2010: Pecos River Water Quality Coalition FormsCurrently working with Corps of Engineers 2012: Pecos River Compact Commissioners work to bring private company back in to pump well again to produce salt

18MembersTexas State Senator Carlos I. UrestiTexas State Representative Pete GallegoTexas Pecos River Compact CommissionerTexas Commission on Environmental QualityTexas State Soil and Water Conservation BoardTexas Water Development BoardInternational Boundary & Water Commission Clean Rivers ProgramRed Bluff Water Power Control DistrictInternational Boundary & Water CommissionTexas Water Resources Institute Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center

Initial TasksAssess salinityLiterature/data review and compilationConduct electromagnetic surveys of Red Bluff Reservoir to Independence CreekEvaluate management alternativesPreliminary economic analyses Update the Watershed Protection Plan include practices for controlling salinity levels

20Current Status/Next StepsFiled HCR 21 and SCR 2 in the Texas LegislatureApplied for a 319 grant through TSSWCBDeveloping white paper on background, goals, and membershipFederal funds?TSSWCB = Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board

Urging Congress to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, Section 5056, and to appropriate sufficient funds so that efforts to solve the salt problem in the Amistad International Reservoir can continue.TSSWCB 319 $801,000.00- money to aerially map the river course to determine areas of salt concentration for targeting with some money to educate people about that process21

Lower Pecos River near Pandale from A & M Report

Lower Pecos River near Pandale from A & M Report