Large quantities of saline water are available in the world, both on the surface and underground; however, these waters have not been studied extensively as sources of potable water.
Saline water is defined herein as water containing more than 1,000 parts per million of dissolved solids, or, with certain mineralized irrigation waters whose exact dissolved solids content is not known, water containing more than 60 percent sodium.
Saline ground water occurs as connate water or other saline water that entered an aquifer in the geologic past and has not been flushed from the aquifer; as the result of solution of soluble materials in aquifers by percolating ground water; as a result of salt-water encroachment into aquifers which are in hydrologic connection with saline waters; or as the result of concentration by evaporation, especially in the vicinity of playa lakes.
Surface water may become saline as a result of seepage of highly mineralized ground water; solution of salts from rocks over which the streams flow; intrusion of sea water in tidal reaches of a stream; and discharge of saline wastes from industrial operations.
Most of the aquifers in Texas contain saline water in some parts, and a few are capable of producing large quantities of saline water. Of the early Paleozoic formations, the Hickory sandstone member of the Riley formation of Cambrian age and the Ellenburger group of Ordovician age are potential sources of small to moderate supplies of saline water in parts of central and west-central Texas.
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