The Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office (GLO), Jerry Patterson, plans to announce today that the GLO has contracted with two water consulting firms to examine the feasibility of building a desalination plant between Austin and New Braunfels on land the GLO owns.

Desalination is an expensive, energy-intensive technique of making brackish underground water potable. Patterson’s plan — a first for the General Land Office, which manages Texas’ land and natural resources — would involve hoisting brackish water up at least 1,400 feet, from below a layer of underground freshwater. Read more about GLO and desalination.