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Saving a city’s water supply
by Gary Kent
May 07, 2014 | 35 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – Interim City Manager Marvin Townsend explained last week what his duties will be under an agreement with the City Council to solve some of the city’s water problems.

The agreement lists four understandings that include:

(a) The contract between the City of Corpus Christi and the District (Beeville Water Supply District) needs to be revised

(b) The future responsibilities of the Beeville Water Supply District need to be clearly established

(c) Construction projects need to be stated over a number of years with priority being given to improve reliability, take advantage of existing capacities, then add water supply for the future

(d) Involvement will be under the direct supervision of the city manager

Townsend has begun the task now that the new city manager, Jack Hamlett, took over on May 1.

Townsend said that much needs to be done in the way of planning for and constructing capital improvements to meet the immediate needs of the city’s water system.

Townsend is no stranger to South Texas water problems.

He moved to Corpus Christi in 1956 from New York to work as an administration assistant for that city.

It was at that time that Texas cities were locked into a lingering drought of the 1950s that made municipalities aware of future water problems.

He was in Corpus Christi when the Wesley Seale Dam on the Nueces River was completed, forming Lake Corpus Christi.

By the 1970s, Townsend had become involved in another water development project for Corpus Christi. That project resulted in the building of the Choke Canyon Dam and the creation of the Choke Canyon Reservoir on the Frio River.

Droughts are nothing new in Texas and the Coastal Bend has struggled with long periods of dry weather, more so than some other parts of the state.

The former Corpus Christi city manager has said he believes working out an agreement with his former employer will not be difficult.

Townsend has recommended that Beeville look at developing “sweet water” sources by drilling wells in areas where the water quality is good.

He has said repeatedly that makes much more sense than building a reverse osmosis plant. Operation costs and effluent disposal costs could be prohibitive in a development of that type.

Townsend said the most pressing issues between the water district and the city involve agreements between the district and the City of Corpus Christi.

Also, the city and district need to clarify what each entity’s responsibilities should be when it comes to maintenance and improvements involving the surface water system.

Townsend believes the city should maintain its surface water system and that should be the city’s main source of municipal water.

According to the agreement between Townsend and the council, he will charge the city $40 an hour for any time that takes him away from his home in Austin. He also will be reimbursed for direct travel costs at the federal government’s approved rate for mileage.

Time spent working on the situation from his home in Austin will cost the city $20 an hour and Townsend guarantees that the total time billed each month during the agreement will not exceed $2,500, plus expenses.

The understanding will run from month to month and the council will have the right to terminate the agreement at any time, without notice.

Townsend also will have the right to terminate the agreement, but he must give the city a 30-day notice.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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