One City Councilman believes the City needs to take a serious look at building a desalination plant, especially since state lawmakers are ready to fund such projects with very low interest.
Kiii News Report Michael Gibson went Live from North Beach with more the details.
If Councilman Chad Magill had his way, we would all soon be able to drink the bay water instead of merely playing in it.
This isn't the first time that there has been a call for a desal plant to be built here; but this time, the City could take advantage of a low-interest loan of less than one-percent from the state to build one. That is because state lawmakers are setting aside billions of dollars to encourage new water projects.
Right now, the City's water plant produces around 80 million gallons of water a day. Because of the drought, the City is now looking at building a new pipeline from Lake Texana as another source of water, but Magill believes it might make more sense to simply invest in a drought-proof water supply like a desal plant.
Recently, Saudi Arabia built the world's largest desal plant at a cost of $3.8 billion. It produces twice the amount of water the city now uses, so if you simply did the math and half that amount, then you're talking at a project costing over one billion dollars.
"We've got to look at desal as an option for the future. It may make financial sense. It may not; but I tell you, this is the time to be prepared," Magill said. "Desalinating a thousand U.S. gallons of water could cost $3; the same amount of water, a thousand U.S. gallons of bottled water costs $7,945, so you tell me desalination isn't something we shouldn't be talking about."
Assistant City Manager Oscar Martinez said the city is evaluating the potential for a desal plant that meets the needs of industrial customers.
The thought is, if the City could build a plant to supply water to industry, there would be more drinking water left over for all of us, and it might make more economic sense.