Seawater Desalination

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Seawater Desalination

The Water Authority’s long-term supply diversification plan calls for seawater desalination to meet 7 percent of the region’s water needs by 2020.

Seawater desalination would be a highly reliable, drought-proof local source of water, providing significant benefits in water supply reliability.

During the past year, the Water Authority took several significant steps toward purchasing water from the long-planned Carlsbad Desalination Project. If the project is approved, it will provide up to 56,000 acre-feet of water annually for the region by as early as 2016 – enough to meet the Water Authority’s 2020 goal.

Water Authority staff and consultants conducted extensive reviews of key agreements between Poseidon Resources, the project’s private developer, and Poseidon’s contractors who would build and operate the desalination plant and a new 10-mile pipeline that would connect the plant with the Water Authority’s regional water delivery system. They also reviewed key financial and other project documents.

Staff also completed studies to determine exactly what improvements will need to be made to the Water Authority’s current pipelines and other facilities to blend and distribute the desalinated water.

Direct negotiations on a proposed water purchase agreement with Poseidon began in November 2011. The agreement will specify the proposed commercial terms for buying water from the plant and the potential purchase of the plant by the Water Authority. The Water Authority expects to finalize the proposed agreement and bring it to its Board for consideration by the end of 2012.


Rendering of completed desalination plant.