Local News

May 7, 2013 7:14 PM by Jessica Holley - jholley@kristv.com

Federal Grant Could Fund Desalination Prototype

CORPUS CHRISTI - Talk of a desalination plant is nothing new for Corpus Christi, but a federal grant could help it turn in to more than just talk. Last month,the city applied for a $400,000 federal grant to help fund a small prototype plant.

With what seems like an endless supply of water in our backyard, many wonder why we aren't using that water to help out during our drought. Besides all the salt, one of the biggest reasons has been the cost of building a desalination plant, then producing drinkable water. Producing desal water would be at least two and half times more expensive than water from a reservoir.

"We haven't been talking about rates at this point. We are going to look at all the projects, we are certainly going to minimize the impact of the rate payers and find that project that is most efficient and effective that gives the greatest yield for the less cost," said Gus Gonzalez, City Water Director.

Which the Mary Rhodes pipeline is that project. The city of corpus hopes a to use a federal grant to build a prototype to a study the technology.

"It's weighing risk against certainty because we could start the plan today, double or triple the increase in the raw water fund and then all the sudden the lakes fill up. That's why it's import to study all options to see what is most effective and efficient in terms of water yield verses cost," said Gonzalez.

"We are making the decisions now to make sure we have a solid water supply for the next 60-80 years. What delineations would give us would be the drought resistant water supply," said Councilman Mark Scott.

Councilman Mark Scott says the council is in favor of finding any and all solutions to our water shortage problems.

If built the plant would be located along the laguna or the ship channel and potentially attached to an existing plant to cut down on some of the costs.

A full size desal plant is under construction now in southern California. Gonzales says he plan to visit the site this summer to learn about the pros and cons of the plant.

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