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Corpus Christi exploring third water desalination site

Posted at 8:57 PM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-29 23:56:42-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — At Corpus Christi City Council’s weekly meeting on Tuesday, a discussion about the current state of the drought brought up the topic of water desalination. The city is already pursuing two sites for a desalination plant. Michael Murphy, Chief Operating Officer of the city water utilities department said they are now working on a third site in Flour Bluff.

“As we sort of work through finding alternate sources of water that we’ve been talking about, Barney Davis is one of those sites,” he said to city council.

The city is looking at the Barney Davis Power Plant as the next possible site for a water desalination plant. It’s just south of Bluff’s Landing in Flour Bluff.

However, this site would be different than the proposed desalination plants in the inner harbor and La Quinta Channel. Where as it's anticipated those plants produce somewhere around 70 million gallons a day, this new site would be limited to producing 20 million gallons a day.

“I know there were questions about why we’re limiting it to 20 million gallons? Well, this is an alternate source, this is not a primary source and so that’s why we’re looking at that,” Murphy said.

Councilman Dan Suckley suggested that if things move quick enough and barring the assessment, could the city put their weight behind this new location as the primary site?

“We’ll provide you with that data and if it opens that door, then that door becomes open,” Murphy said.

One of the biggest arguments against desalination is because of the brine discharge that results from the process. For this new site, three options were discussed about what to do with the brine.

“The initial option in the Barney Davis plan, they have two large holding ponds adjacent to the power plant," Murphy said. "So, the initial option is to discharge into that lagoon or pond adjacent to it... And then, obviously the next one would be in the Laguna Madre. Then the third would be out into the gulf. Probably eight miles from the Barney Davis plant, which puts it about two and half to three miles out into the gulf.

Murphy added that the city is moving with caution on this site, so as to not jeopardize the already existing permits for the Barney Davis Power Plant.

City Manager Peter Zanoni said the city has seven ways they are working on finding a solution to the drought.

According to one city prediction, without adequate rainfall, combined water levels could drop to 30 percent by the end of July, putting the city in Stage 2 Drought Restrictions.

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