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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is another source of water needed?
    The four surface water sources managed by Corpus Christi Water are solely dependent on rainfall and are purified at a single water treatment facility. As the Coastal Bend’s water needs grow, so does the need for additional treatment facilities and a more reliable, drought-resistant water resource. A diversified water portfolio makes Corpus Christi Water and the region’s water supply more dependable.
  • What types of water sources are available in this area?
    Corpus Christi Water has researched several water sources, including treated wastewater effluent reuse, aquifer storage and recovery, groundwater, surface water and seawater desalination. Each conventional surface water source is finite and requires further treatment before distribution to customers, therefore continuing the reliance on our only water treatment plant. Seawater desalination is a drought-proof source, which introduces a new supply and additional source of treatment plant to purify the water for distribution to customers from the proposed Inner Harbor and/or La Quinta site(s).
  • How many sites/locations were reviewed? Why are La Quinta and Inner Harbor the best locations?
    A total of 21 sites were evaluated during the process of selecting the Inner Harbor and La Quinta locations. The evaluations prioritized environmental sustainability, cost, and reliability. These two sites were selected according to their ability to balance these three, primary objectives.
  • How many desalination facilities will there be, and how much water will be produced?
    The City of Corpus Christi is pursuing two seawater desalination plants (Inner Harbor and La Quinta) with a combined maximum capacity of 70 million gallons per day if/when both locations are in full production. This would create water security for our region by nearly doubling the amount of water produced by Corpus Christi Water today.
  • Where will the Inner Harbor Seawater Desalination Water Treatment Plant be located?
    The Inner Harbor Seawater Desalination Water Treatment Plant will be located at the corner of Nueces Bay Boulevard and West Broadway Street. The intake and discharge structures will be constructed within the secured segment of the Inner Harbor Ship Channel.
  • How much water will the Inner Harbor Seawater Desalination Water Treatment Plant produce?
    The Inner Harbor Seawater Desalination Water Treatment Plant will be able to produce up to 30 million gallons of clean, safe drinking water per day for Corpus Christi Water customers.
  • How will Corpus Christi Water pay for these facilities?
    Corpus Christi Water has implemented a Drought Surcharge Exemption Fee for its large water customers to secure another water source, which will help pay for the development of a new, drought-proof water supply. In addition to being billed for the water they use, the large water customers collectively provide an average of $4.5 million annually through this surcharge. Alongside these funds, Corpus Christi Water has applied to the Texas Water Development Board and received low-interest loans subsidized by the State of Texas. Corpus Christi Water continues its commitment to affordability for the ratepayer by applying for U.S. Bureau of Reclamation grants and searching for other opportunities to partner with federal and state programs for water supply funds.
  • What are the environmental impacts of the proposed discharge locations?
    A team of coastal ecologists, environmental scientists, engineers, and modelers have been focused on developing these projects to minimize the environmental impacts of each project component. The discharge locations were surveyed and evaluated for water quality and in-channel dynamics for use in the discharge modeling. The concentrated seawater discharged at each location will be required to disperse according to the TCEQ permit limits. Monitoring will also be required to ensure no negative environmental impacts.
  • How will the City avoid environmental impacts from the intake of seawater?
    The intake of seawater from the Inner Harbor will have physical protections and operational procedures in place to mitigate organisms getting caught on the intake screens or pulled into the plant. The seawater pulled into the intake from the ship channel will be at very slow inlet velocities so that ambulatory marine organisms can safely swim past the intake. Additionally, the seawater intake will be positioned at a depth of about 20-feet in the water column to avoid key target species that were identified by survey teams.
  • How will the City avoid environmental impacts from the Inner Harbor’s discharge of the seawater concentrate?
    The facility’s location in the Inner Harbor ship channel is key to protecting the environment and mitigating impacts on aquatic life. Water returned to the ship channel through the facility discharge will be dispersed using a technology called jet diffusion, where the water is mixed to dilute the salt concentration quickly. The depth of the jet diffuser is between 30 and 40 below the water surface, which is intentional to help avoid impacts on seagrass environments. Extensive data collection and modeling by the City’s engineering consultants, local researchers, and state agencies like the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will ensure the discharge of the seawater concentrate protects the Inner Harbor environment.
  • Why is the City building the Inner Harbor desalination facility first?
    The Inner Harbor desalination facility is an ideal project for adding a drought-proof water supply, providing a cost-effective location due to how close it is to our entire community’s water distribution system, and the ability to access seawater where naturally occurring water exchange allows for CCW to be environmentally responsible. Additionally, the Inner Harbor facility will add a level of resiliency to the CCW system because it is independent of the existing O.N. Stevens surface water treatment plant.
  • How will the City address water quality issues from contaminants from the Inner Harbor?
    Corpus Christi Water has a mandate to provide clean, safe drinking water for all of our customers across the seven-county region. The public health responsibility is taken with uncompromising seriousness. Extensive water quality testing has been completed on the Inner Harbor and will continue as this facility operates to ensure the reverse osmosis (technical term for desalination process) and subsequent water treatment processes remove all contaminants – providing a standard of clean drinking water that is higher than is attainable today. The TCEQ will require a pilot phase of the project where the city will prove to the agency that the water produced with this technology is safe to enter our drinking water system.
  • Who will get the water from the Inner Harbor Desalination Plant?
    Everyone. Corpus Christi Water has a fully integrated water distribution system, and any new water supply is delivered to every customer class. The new desalination plants will provide water directly into our distribution system, which serves residents, businesses and large volume users.
  • Does the City of Corpus Christi have a drought contingency plan?
    Yes, the City of Corpus Christi was the first city in the state of Texas to create a drought contingency plan, which also includes a water conservation plan and lists recommendations for all users. The plan is updated every five years or as needed.
  • Will the drought contingency plan be modified once a desalination facility is brought online?
    It is a possibility. The city’s goal is to broaden the sources of water from the drought-prone surface water in our lakes and rivers. This will enable the city to withstand greater drought stress and negotiate with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to have a contingency plan with more flexibility on drought restrictions.
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