By 2050, the Lower Rio Grande Valley will need 184,000 acre-feet of NEW water supplies to satisfy growing demands by residents, businesses, and industry.

The overappropriated Rio Grande cannot meet these demands.

Seawater from the Gulf of Mexico can.

To determine the best methods for desalinating seawater in Texas, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), the Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB), the Port of Brownsville, and NRS Consulting Engineers worked together on a pilot project at the Brownsville Ship Channel. The pilot plant collected and analyzed site-specific data in 2007 and 2008 and determined it is technically feasible to produce drinking water from seawater. The results of that pilot study have been released and the BPUB now proposes to construct a 2.5 MGD demonstration-scale seawater desalination plant and research facility at the Port of Brownsville. The proposed Demonstration Project would have several advantages:

TWDB and BPUB are working together to secure the public financial assistance to further implement seawater desalination in Texas.

Project News

TWDB's 4th Biennial Report on Seawater Desalination (2010) to the Texas Legislature.

Pilot Study Report Executive Summary (783 kb .pdf)

Pilot Study Full Report (8.88 mb .pdf)

AP highlights innovations at Brownsville seawater desal pilot, engineered and built by NRS Consulting Engineers. Click here for full story.

State officials call for continued funding of Brownsville desal project during "Texas Desal Day 2007." More »


For more information, call Brownsville PUB at 956-350-8819.

To schedule a tour of the facility, call 956-983-6292.