Desalination hearing set in Corpus Christi for public comment

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

June 18, 2014 at 1:18 a.m.

Texas officials are continuing to wade through discussions of future water woes.

The first of three hearings by the Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination was June 16 at the Capitol. The second meeting is set for Monday in Corpus Christi and the third in Wichita Falls on June 30.

Various conservation and industrial groups and members of the public attended and shared their comments regarding projected water issues.

"The only new source of water is desalination of seawater and brackish groundwater," said Mike Sizemore of Sizemore Media and Consulting. He attended the hearing in Austin and spoke about the importance of building more desalination plants in the state and specifically in the Victoria region, which the Eagle Ford Shale play and several industrial and chemical plants call home.

The comments, he said, will be used by the committee to determine where the biggest need for a desalination plant is and how its water can be applied for both consumption and industrial use.

Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp., said the industrial use of desalinated water is a priority when businesses consider expanding or moving operations to Victoria.

The petrochemical plants are big water users, he said, and in order to continue growth in area industries and jobs, Victoria will need access to more water.

"Victoria and the area around the barge canal and port still have room for growth," Fowler said. "The closer we are to a facility, the better it will be for our local industry and populous."

Projects such as a desalination plant will be built in areas that have the most interest and support, he said. If more people can attend this hearing and share comments, it will be in Victoria's favor when the state officials start thinking about location.

He hopes to share his understanding of the industrial uses of water with the committee.

"For continued growth, we will need more sustainable water sources," Fowler said. "Desalination of saltwater and brackish water offer alternatives."

The city of Victoria has been good about planning for residential water supply, Sizemore said. As the population and area industries continue to expand, the region will need more water.

"It's a big issue we should have started about five or 10 years ago," he said.



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