Opinion: Desalination is water for industry — prioritization of profit over healthPatrick Nye | Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association...

Opinion: Desalination is water for industry — prioritization of profit over healthPatrick Nye | Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association...Opinion: Desalination is water for industry — prioritization of profit over health
Patrick Nye | Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association
2 hours ago
Both the city of Corpus Christi and the Port of Corpus Christi are proposing desalination projects intended to prioritize industrial expansion and profit over the health of citizens and our bay waters. Perhaps the primary fault lies with the Texas Commission on Environment Quality commissioner’s political agenda. Economic growth while sacrificing communities, air and water quality instead of protecting the health and welfare of Texans is a dereliction of duty. Permittees cunningly filed the Harbor Island desalination permit as a “minor discharge” instead of a “major permit” for 50 million gallons per day (MGD) discharge. My belief is that the Environmental Protection Agency will set the record straight, requiring a major permit thus nullifying the TCEQ Commissioner’s ruling.

I appreciate Mr. Larry White’s background in engineering ("Desalination for Corpus Christi is possible, with caveats," Aug. 26). Like many other scientists and engineers, he recognizes that bay water desalination is “unproven technology in a Corpus Christi-type bay system.” Many recognize the risks of a hypersaline environment in the bay, the high turbidity and aquatic organisms that will clog filters. Furthermore, the extra chemicals, sludge disposal, and increased pump pressures needed for muddy bay water is a huge technological challenge. Although Mr. White indicates that “…these technologies have been used for over 25 years,” nowhere in the world are these “technologies” challenged as they would be in our bay. Just look at the Brownsville Ship Channel’s failed desalination pilot project!

Mr. White’s statement that water rights costs for groundwater price are higher than desalination of the bay water is inaccurate. Laguna LP’s proposes water rights to 23,000 acres of Evangeline groundwater immediately adjacent to the Mary Rhodes pipeline with 25 MGD drought-proof water deliverable to the city. This resource has supplied the city of Sinton with water for over 25 years. Based upon information provided to Region N Water Planning group in 2020, 1,000 gallons of delivered, treated water from Laguna LP would cost $5.42. Estimated cost for the Inner Harbor is $7.84 for 30 MGD. The real problem for the City of Corpus Christi and POCC is that there is enough future water supply for residential users but not for thirsty industrial expansion.