Chamber of Commerce Kicks Off Water Month with Breakfast Event - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Chamber of Commerce Kicks Off Water Month with Breakfast Event

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CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) -

The Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce has declared the month of April to be Water Month, a month dedicated to learning more about water conservation.

The Chamber kicked things off with a breakfast Wednesday morning featuring the mayor of Wichita Falls, Texas, who told the crowd what that city has done to combat severe drought conditions.

Wichita Falls has faced the worst part of the Texas drought over the last couple of years, and they are combating it in an unusual way -- with effluent water, better known as "potty water."

The city's mayor, Glenn Barham, has been campaigning for this for several years.

"That I will be the first to take a drink out of that potty water," Barham said. "The water will be clean."

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has okayed Wichita Falls to test using 50-percent effluent water with 50-percent lake water in its treatment process, which if passes in cleanliness, will then be used as drinking water.

"The test results have come back better than expected," Barham said. "The water is cleaner than we expected it to be. Now we are waiting on TCEQ to review the data."

Mayor Barham said it costs the city $13 million to build a 12 and a half mile pipe to make the project possible, which was paid for by raised tax rates for Wichita Falls residents.

The reservoir levels for Wichita falls are at 20-percent.

Corpus Christi levels are at 46-percent, and in November we got out of stage two mandatory drought restrictions, which is for anything under 40-percent. The City still asks the community to preserve water through more conservative ways. If similar effluent water projects were to occur in Corpus Christi due to extreme drought conditions, City water experts say it would be way into the future, but they are keeping an open mind about the options.

"We definitely want to look at other cities and see how they've been successful in measures that maybe we haven't thought of," City Project Manager Brent Clayton said.