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Corpus Christi could add new water source to combat drought

The Evangeline Groundwater Project would give the city an additional 25 million gallons of water a day.
Credit: KIII TV

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Editor's Note: This story has been changed to correctly reflect that a new desalination plant is what would bring a second water treatment plant. The Evangeline Groundwater Project would bring an extra water source.

The City of Corpus Christi is exploring adding a fifth water source amid ongoing drought concerns.

Corpus Christi Water Chief Operating Officer Michael Murphy said the city could potentially receive up to 25 million gallons of water per day if the city approves the Evangeline Groundwater Project proposal.

Currently, Corpus Christi has four water sources:

  • Lake Corpus Christi
  • Choke Canyon Reservoir System
  • Lake Texana via the Mary Rhodes Pipeline
  • Colorado River

"Those are all rainwater dependent," Murphy said. "What we're looking for is something that is not rainwater dependent."

Corpus Christi is still under Stage 1 water restrictions due to the drought the state currently is facing. On Feb. 21, the entire area reentered a moderate drought level. New drought maps come out each Thursday.

"The drought is affecting, not only our local water source, but our replenishment zones northeast and west of the city," Murphy said.

Primary focus remains on adding desalination plant

With more people moving to Corpus Christi, the city's water department has focused on desalination in order to offset a lack of rain.

If the city builds a desalination plant, it would also effectively serve as the city's second water treatment plant. Currently, the O.N. Stevens WTP is the city's only water treatment plant.

"We're trying to add additional sources to our portfolio," Murphy said. "Desal is still our number-one goal, to create that, because it brings with it a water treatment facility. Evangeline brings additional water."

Murphy said that the goal is to find water sources that can outlast drought conditions and provide continuous support to the city.

"To continue to grow and to continue to prosper like we're currently doing, you've got to have those additional sources of water," he said. "So these are the things you would notice mostly. And hopefully we'll get out of these water restrictions where you can only water your lawn once a week, which is where we're at right now."

The first step is to hire an engineering consultant to make sure the project 

City Council will decide on Tuesday whether to authorize a $94,000 professional service agreement with the engineering company HDR to evaluate this water supply strategy.

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