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City of Corpus Christi approved for $11.4 million loan to continue seawater desal project

Officials say the next step in utilizing the $11.4 million loan is establishing a site for the plant.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The City of Corpus Christi is continuing with its $222 million seawater desalination project after being approved for an $11.4 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board.

The $11.4 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board will allow the City of Corpus Christi to do more research about where and how the seawater desalination plant would fit in the Coastal Bend, according to Steve Ramos, Water Resource Manager for the City.

Ramos said by doing more research, when it comes time to present an execution plan, all the kinks are worked out.

"Getting additional knowledge so that when we go out to a construction design project, when we get to that phase, we have a good package," Ramos said.

A desalination plant takes in seawater and removes the salt and impurities, turning it into fresh water. Ramos said this is necessary in Corpus Christi to support economic growth and drought resistance.

"The City is a wholesale provider for nearly 500,000 people within the Coastal Bend. The communities depend upon Corpus Christi looking out into the future understanding how growth in our area drives water and the need for water supply," Ramos said.

Not everyone is on board. Isabel Araiza is with For the Greater Good, a community betterment organization in Corpus Christi. She said the desalination project benefits are for industrial businesses, not the people of the Coastal Bend.

"They don't care about us. What they care about is doing this for heavy industry, and we are just a bunch of people that are in the way," Araiza said.

Araiza said before the City moves forward she wants to see transparent environmental research, cost benefit analysis for industry versus residents, and more.

"Until they address the fact that we've been sued for our inability to maintain out wastewater system; until they can demonstrate they can actually meet our basic needs," Araiza said.

Ramos said the next step in utilizing the $11.4 million is establishing a site for the plant.