City of Summer Drought Has Quenched Its Thirst
Jan. 17, 1985
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) _ City officials who ordered the streets patrolled last summer for water rationing violators are now raising glasses of water to toast the end of the drought.
Thanks to fall rains and unusual winter snowstorms, the city's reservoirs are filling and officials are talking about getting rid of the last rationing regulations.
By next week, Corpus Christi will have more water in storage than at any time in its history, said City Manager Ed Martin, as a second reservoir constructed just as the drought set in fills up for the first time.
''We're to the point now, we need to get rid of rationing,'' City Councilman Leo Guerrero said this week. ''To go on as we are going on now will give people on the outside the perception that we are drying up.''
Martin said the City Council will take up the question of dropping the remaining water restrictions Tuesday. The rationing imposed on residents of this coastal city last summer was one of the toughest for a Texas metropolitan area.
Officials now are concerned that the attention the drought received could damage the city's chances of becoming the home port for the battleship USS Wisconsin, its five-ship entourage and the expected $50 million annual payroll.
Corpus Christi is one of several Texas cities competing with a dozen others for the port.
Martin said several of the other cities are using Corpus Christi's water problem to enhance their chances.
''They're saying you shouldn't bring it here because of the water problem,'' he said.
Jerry Higgins, chief of the Texas Department of Water Resource's economics water requirements and uses section, has supported the city's position, agreeing, ''Corpus Christi really doesn't have a ... water supply problem.''
October storms that soaked the 16,656 square-mile watershed broke a record dry spell that started at the end of September 1983, water superintendent Paul Werner said.
On Wednesday, Lake Corpus Christi, the city's original reservoir, was at 89.67 feet above sea level, slightly above the reading of 89.43 feet Tuesday and above 1984's high point of 89.41 feet on Dec. 10.
Choke Canyon Dam reservoir was at 181.24 feet, above Tuesday's mark of 181.18 feet.
''Long term, we're one of the best in the state because of Choke Canyon Dam. By next week, we'll have more water in storage than in any time in history, and that's without spring rains,'' Martin said.