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In 1992, Corpus Christi Mayor Mary Rhodes envisioned an additional water source for the Coastal Bend when she led an initiative to secure Colorado River water rights from the Garwood Irrigation Company. Coastal Bend residents, businesses and industries were on a fast track to running out of water as Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon Reservoir levels slipped to 25% capacity during a historical drought in the mid-1990s. The drought encouraged City officials to quickly design and build a pipeline to deliver water from Lake Texana.

In 1998, the Port of Corpus Christi and the City of Corpus Christi finished a 101-mile pipeline and two pump stations that transfer water from Lake Texana to the O.N. Stevens Water Treatment Plant with a total cost at nearly $116 million. Mary Rhodes died of cancer in 1997 and the pipeline was named in her memory.


In 1999, Corpus Christi finalized the purchase of a portion of Garwood’s water rights, after receiving approval of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission the following year. Garwood also sold its remaining water right and related assets to the Lower Colorado River Authority in 1999. With the purchase of the 35,000 acre-feet water right, Corpus Christi was authorized to pump water from the Colorado River at a rate of 298 acre-feet per day.

In 2010, Corpus Christi began the initial steps of planning and designing Mary Rhodes Pipeline Phase II and construction of the 42-mile pipeline started in April 2014. The project consisted of a pipeline, two pump stations and a sedimentation basin that start at the Colorado River near Bay City and connect to Phase I of the pipeline at Lake Texana. The $154 million pipeline project was completed in September 2016.