Ongoing Talks of Desalination Plants Between City, Companies

It's just talk at this point, but there are now serious discussions underway about building one, or possibly even two, desalination plants on the shores of Corpus Christi Bay.

That news came out after City Council heard the latest plans on how to deal with the continuing drought.

The state is looking to use some of the billions of dollars it has saved up in its rainy-day fund to spend on new water projects. The governor and other lawmakers have expressed a desire to see water desalination plants built, as the drought continues to take its toll on the state.

City officials said that we could run out of water by 2017 if something is not done.

Our combined lake levels are now around the 38-percent capacity level, and the City is looking at even stricter watering guidelines in the near future. There is also a plan to built the Mary Rhodes Pipeline, which would bring in enough water to equal 25-percent of the city's yearly water consumption.

Discussions are now underway between the City and at least two companies on building desalination plants in and around the ship channel and bay.

"There are a couple of industrial customers that will be relocating here and are seriously discussing a saltwater desalination plant, one along the ship channel and one on the bay," City Water Director Gus Gonzalez said. "We've had some very preliminary discussions with them about expanding that plant, and the opportunity to expand that plant and to deliver some kind of industrial water."

Gonzalez also said that one of the companies has already gone to the state and feels very optimistic that there would be funds available. Of course, the idea is to partner with the City, so those dollars could roll in and then the City could expand on those plants as its water needs increase.

The City is looking at a total ban on watering during the daytime hours year round, with or without a drought in place. Also, no irrigation would be allowed unless it was done with a handheld hose.

The Water Department is supposed to come back in May with its new, tougher drought management plan. So far, there is no timetable on those desal plants, but with the state looking to fund projects right now, the green light could be given any day now.


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