This illustrative video shows the seawater desalination process in action.
Corpus Christi Caller Times
In 2018, 10 private companies presented to city of Corpus Christi staff their proposals for alternative water sources for the city.
The city never followed up for more information, including cost, about the companies’ proposals.
However, the city is still pursing a $222.5 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board to build a seawater desalination plant within the Inner Harbor of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.
City Council members Rudy Garza, Gil Hernandez, Ben Molina and Paulette Guarjardo want to know more about the private companies’ proposals. They submitted a request to add the private-sector 2018 presentations to the Sept. 29 agenda.
During its regular meeting Tuesday, council approved the request. City staff will give a summarized presentation of the 10 companies’ proposals.
Freese and Nichols engineering firm is researching sites for two seawater desalination plants in Corpus Christi. (Photo: Contributed/City of Corpus Christi)
The motion was approved with an amendment from at-large council member Hernandez to allow the companies to provide more information directly to council if they choose to, virtually or in-person.
City staff will also give an update on the Port of Corpus Christi desalination permit application.
Here are the companies:
- Consolidated Water Co Ltd
- Corpus Christi Civic Leadership Group
- IDE Americas, Inc.
- Poseidon Water LLC
- Poseidon Water – Suez
- Veolia Water North America – Central, LLC
- Evangeline/ Laguna LP
- Seven Seas Water Corporation B
Why pursue a desalination plant?
Corpus Christi is a a water supplier for seven counties with a combined population of more than 500,000 people, Zanoni has said.
The city has experienced major droughts for decades, with one of the worst from 2011 until 2013.
And within two and a half years, the Corpus Christi area is projected to reach 75 percent of water supply firm yield, or the maximum quantity of water which can be guaranteed during a critical dry period.
To combat this, city officials have considered building a seawater desalination plant for about a decade, Zanoni said.
In August, the council authorized a financing agreement with the Texas Water Development Board for an $11.4 million loan to start the permitting process for one of two desalination plants
The total amount in loans the city could be awarded by the state agency to build a desalination plant is about $222.5 million.
The authorization for the financing agreement passed with six council members voting in support and three against. Council members Guajardo, Garza and Hernandez voted no.
All three said they supported desalination, just not the way the city is pursuing it. They want to look at other options besides the large state loan, including a public-private partnership.
The other council members, including Mayor Joe McComb, who supported the action, say the loan is a good opportunity that can’t be missed. They also believe it’s cheaper than a public-private partnership to finance and build the plant.
Zanoni said the planned desalination plant would be the first of two that are being pursued by the city. The other site being considered is at the LaQuinta Channel, in San Patricio County.
Kathryn Cargo follows business openings and developments while reporting on impacts of the city government’s decisions. See our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe.
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