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Proposed desalination plant could take step forward at city council meeting

Proposed desalination plant could take step forward at city council meeting
Posted at 7:28 PM, Dec 13, 2021

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A proposed desalination plant could take another step towards becoming a reality Tuesday despite cost and environmental concerns from some Corpus Christi citizens.

The city council will consider authorizing City Manager Peter Zanoni to negotiate contracts to buy plots of land on which a plant or multiple plants would be built.

The actual purchase wouldn't be final until a separate city council vote at a future meeting, but a city leader close to the efforts says Tuesday's vote will be significant.

“This could be a historical day for sure,” Water Utilities Chief Operations Officer Mike Murphy said.

'Desal' opponents plan to speak-out before Tuesday's vote.

Isabel Araiza says her group, For the Greater Good, urges the city council to, "put public need over corporate greed."

“There are so many things that are wrong with (desal)," she said. "Instead of spending that money and not listening to the people, they could be investing those dollars into things that we need."

Murphy says desalination plants are what the city needs to meet the water demands of Corpus Christi's growing industrial sector and population.

He's hopeful the city council will give the green light to contract negotiations with the owners of the still-secret plots of land near "Inner Harbor Nueces Bay Boulevard and the La Quinta Channel."

“The good thing about all of this is everything seems to be moving forward right now,” Murphy said.

Even if the city council approves contract negotiations, there are still several hurdles for desal to clear including obtaining permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Araiza is hopeful that those commissioners — if not the city council — will put a stop to the plants that she ways will hurt sea life with discharges of brine and the city's finances with the high costs associated with building and running them.

And she says more people are joining her cause.

“There’s a presence on the internet," Araiza said. "There’s a presence in the community. As soon as people know about it, there’s growing voices (against desal)."