Diversity is best water option
by Chip Latcham
Oct 21, 2013 | 241 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This community received an overflow of good news in recent days regarding our water situation.

First, flood warnings continue to be issued for the Nueces River at Cotulla and near Tilden, affecting Live Oak and McMullen counties.

Recent rainfall over the Nueces watershed will keep the river above flood stage for the next several days.

Already the capacity of Lake Corpus Christi has risen to 25 percent, up from 17 percent a year ago.

Although we have a long way to go to fill our combined reservoir system (which sits at a pitiful 33 percent), an El Niño year and/or more rains falling in the right place upstream would do wonders to mitigate the drought’s effects.

Secondly, City Council members learned last week that test results of a new well at Veterans Memorial Park showed great promise.

The well drilled into the Evangeline Aquifer would meet TCEQ standards for drinking water, without expensive treatment.

“The well is producing more than predicted and better quality than expected,” engineer Stephen Grunewald told the council.

He recommended that the city go ahead with plans to install a permanent pump into the well and have AEP connect power to the pump.

The projected cost of completing the well would be about $20,600 – less than the $29,000 budgeted.

That’s quite a bargain, especially considering the expensive bond issue proposal that was rejected decisively by Beeville voters earlier this year.

Mayor David Carabajal said he would like to see how much it would cost the city to drill additional wells in the same shallower, sweet aquifer in different locations around town and use that water to replace some of what is now being pumped from Lake Corpus Christi.

He said that could allow the city possibly to have a reverse osmosis plant built in the future that could be used to treat water from the deeper, but saltier, Jasper aquifer.

Some have insisted that there’s enough water in the deeper pool to solve all our community’s needs, but we don’t believe we should place all our eggs in one basket ever again.

In the first place, this city has too much invested in the Morrill water treatment plant at Swinney Switch simply to abandon it.

Also, an RO plant is expensive to construct and maintain. And those residents old enough to remember the old (Jasper wells) water will attest to its taste and texture. Beeville was known far and wide for its foul water.

Certainly the RO technology has made tremendous strides and that process would improve the quality, removing most of the chlorides, dissolved solids and iron. However, we believe it would be wise to drill as many wells into the Evangeline Aquifer around the city as possible.

Then the council should consider the best option from several companies that could build a smaller scale RO plant which could be expanded over the years, should Lake Corpus Christi cease to be a viable option. The city should NOT go with a sales pitch from only one firm.

We commend the council for continuing to research this crucial issue, hearing from engineers and experts. But from what we have learned thus far, we urge them to drill, baby, drill.
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