A special mayor's task force on the City's future water needs told Council members Tuesday that completing the second phase of the Mary Rhodes Pipeline must remain a top priority.
Eagle Ford Shale was unknown when plans began for the Mary Rhodes Pipeline, and the task force says the pipeline puts us ahead of most cities affected by the drought.
The task force includes the president emeritus of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Dr. Bob Ferguson, and former City Manager Bill Hennings. Ferguson says the pipeline is crucial for the citizens and economic health of all the areas supplied by the City's Water Department.
"It just needs to be done," Ferguson said. "It's the cheapest way to bring on additional water supplies. They are needed and will benefit the whole region."
Ferguson said the pipeline guarantees that both citizens and future companies coming here for the Eagle Ford Shale will have the water they need.
Water Department Director Gus Gonzalez says many citizens are unaware that the pipeline project is on the verge of starting construction.
"This next month is the defining moment," Gonzalez said. "We will come back to council with the approval for the acquisition or purchase of pumps close to the Colorado River. In November, early December, we will come back, ask for council approval to initiate construction contracts for installation of the pipeline."
Gonzalez says the pipeline should be completed by the spring of 2015.
The task force also recommended that the water department increase staffing to handle the many aspects of planning for future water needs.
Ironically, City Manager Ron Olson earlier reported to council that the drainage basin for the city's reservoirs reported up to 17-inches of rain just this past weekend. We'll have to wait and see how that will affect lake levels in the days ahead.
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