City of Corpus Christi to Apply for $222M Loan for Desalination Plant

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – City Council approved Tuesday, April 21, 2020, to apply to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) for financial assistance through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) for a seawater desalination plant located on the Inner Harbor Ship Channel.  The TWDB included the City of Corpus Christi’s project in the 2020 SWIFT program prioritization and invited the City to submit a full application by May 11, 2020.

As a regional water supplier for over 500,000 people and all types of businesses from tourism to industrial customers, the City has focused on long-term planning to meet the area's water supply needs.  Partners in the process of securing funding include the San Patricio Municipal Water District and other regional customers. 

The current application for $222,475,000 will fund the procurement, design, and construction costs of a seawater desalination facility.  Applying for the SWIFT loan represents the next step in a systematic process that the City began in 2014 after Texas experienced a record-breaking drought.

The City’s current water rate structure for all customers includes 5 cents per 1,000 gallons of water consumed that is deposited in a protected fund for the development of a long-term water supply.  In 2018, major water customers volunteered to begin paying 25 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used for a drought-resistant water supply.  Both funds will help offset the cost of a new water source and will prevent “rate shock” to commercial and residential customers.

The City has also submitted permits to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for water discharge permits and water rights on the Inner Harbor Ship Channel and a possible future plant on the La Quinta Channel.  The TCEQ is currently taking public comments on the permit application.  The discharge permit on the application for the Inner Harbor facility is expected to be declared administratively complete in the near future.  Both sites would produce public drinking water to benefit the region.

For additional information regarding the City's seawater desalination effort, visit

Media inquiries, please contact Public Information Officer Gabriela Morrow at 361-826-3583 or by email at