CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi's combined water supply has officially dropped below 40%. City officials said it’s not time to panic, but there is cause for concern.
“It’s concerning to say the least. We’re at 38.5% combined capacity which is dangerously low,” City Manager Peter Zanoni said.
Corpus Christi has been in a stage one drought for over a year. The combined water sources dropping below 40% isn’t new, it happened around this time last year. It’s the consistently dry weather with a just as dry future outlook that’s a problem.
Zanoni said he and his team have been meeting once a week with the National Weather Service for the last week. They discussed water levels and weather outlook. He said with the El Nino weather pattern over Corpus Christi, it may be hot and dry now but that means the city will experience a wet winter.
“The Colorado River which is about 25% of our water, we were issued notice from that authority that curtailment could happen in the near future in the next couple of weeks,” Zanoni said.
Current city policy is drought two restrictions kicks in when combined water sources reach 30%. There is a policy that allows Zanoni, with agreement from City Council, to enact stage two sooner than that 30%. Zanoni said he's been thinking about it if levels reach 35%.
What city officials said this comes down to is conservation. The city are in the midst of a marketing campaign by the city to show what everyone can be doing to conserve water.
“We’ve started this marketing campaign to inform the community and try and change the culture that we’re all in this together. So, we can extend this a little bit further,” City Councilman Roland Barrera said.
“This is really a community awareness situation that everybody has to be aware, so they can change behaviors with water use, whether its a large volume user like an industrial partner or a residential customer,” Zanoni said.
The city has of course been evaluating water desalination options, but that’s still years away.
“We’re still pursing efforts for other sources," Barrera said. "We decided last year now we’re going to look at other sources other than desalination. We’re looking at the aquifer that is utilized in San Patricio County.”
Zanoni said a study was just completed on the Evangeline Aquifer in the Sinton area, as a possible new source.
The study looked at how that water could be transported to Corpus Christi, how much it will cost, how much water it'll produce and what treatment is needed on the water. Those results will be presented to city council in the near future, according to Zanoni.
The current water levels can be viewed on the city's website here.