Thanks to thunderstorms in the Coastal Bend and up north and west in the Texas Hill Country, water levels are increasing by the day.
Some news reports indicate that Lake Corpus Christi might fill up in the next few days as locations north of Beeville’s raw water intake structure report flooding.
Reports indicated that Three Rivers residents have been bracing for flooding at Tips RV Park and at other locations along the river toward Lake Corpus Christi.
Michael Lentz, the superintendent at Beeville’s George P. Morrill Water Treatment Plant at Swinney Switch, said he expects to see the lake level to rise much higher.
A report from the Nueces River Authority showed the level at Lake Corpus Christi was at 39.9 percent of capacity as of Tuesday morning, Oct. 22.
That is well above the 17.6 percent level reported by the authority for this time in 2012.
The water level at the Choke Canyon Reservoir was still low, according to the authority. That lake was at 36.3 percent of capacity. That is down from the 51.4 percent of capacity for the same day in 2012.
The combined level of both lakes stood at 37.3 percent, still lower than the 42.2 percent reported on Oct. 22, 2012.
The Beeville Water Supply District’s raw water intake structure at the headwaters of Lake Corpus Christi has risen above the openings that allow water to fill the pumping equipment.
Lentz said the water running down the river is carrying a lot of silt, but that will actually make it easier for the treatment plant to clean.
“We just have to add more chemicals,” Lentz said.
The extended drought has prompted a number of Coastal Bend cities which depend on the lake for municipal water supplies to look at alternatives. Most of those cities, including Beeville, are looking at drilling wells to provide more sources of water.
The latest option being studied by the Beeville City Council has included the drilling of several wells into the shallow Evangeline aquifer, where water quality is good enough to require little treatment before being pumped into the city’s water storage tanks.
The city has considered building a reverse osmosis filtering facility to remove higher levels of chlorides and dissolved solids from water taken from a deeper aquifer.
That aquifer, the Jasper, has more chlorides and solids, but it offers a greater amount of water than the Evangeline.
That water would require treatment by a reverse osmosis plant. Council members believe the money saved by reducing what Beeville has to pay the City of Corpus Christi for water taken from the lake would allow the city to accumulate enough money over several years to allow Beeville to be able to build an RO plant without having to borrow a significant amount of money.
Beeville voters defeated a city bid to sell $15.3 million in bonds to build an RO plant and drill wells in an election in May.
The City Council responded by appointing a 17-member committee to study alternative water development options and make a recommendation to the council.
Higher lake levels will give the council more time to study those options and make a decision.