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Environmental group suggests alternatives to desalination

Site of the Port of Corpus Christi’s proposed desalination plant at Harbor Island at Port Aransas. The Coastal Alliance to Protect our Environment recently released a report suggesting alternatives to desalination plants for the region. Courtesy image

A report commissioned by the Coastal Alliance to Protect our Environment offered more cost-effective alternatives to proposed seawater desalination plants now seeking permits in the Coastal Bend.

In a study released by CAPE during a November media conference in Corpus Christi, the group also said industrial use is the biggest driver of water needs in the Coastal Bend.

Citing statistics from the Texas Water Development Board, the study asserts that industrial water use has increased by 69.7 percent in the past 10 years compared to 5.9 percent for mining, 18.8 percent for irrigation, and 5.6 percent for municipal.

The financial cost of increased water conservation and utilization of groundwater would cost $786 million over a 30-year period, according to the report. The study cites projected 30-year costs at $1.2 billion for the city of Corpus Christi’s Inner Harbor desalination plant, $1.14 billion for the city’s La Quinta facility, and $1.13 billion for the Port of Corpus Christi’s Harbor Island plant.

CAPE pointed to the Evangeline Groundwater Project as a possible source of water. The Evangeline project sources water from part of the Gulf Coast Aquifer in San Patricio County. The report also suggests installing floating solar panels at Choke Canyon Reservoir to reduce water evaporation.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved a water rights permit for the city of Corpus Christi’s Inner Harbor plant in October and signed off on the Port of Corpus Christi’s wastewater discharge permit application in August.

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