Seawater Desalination

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Carlsbad Desalination Project 90 percent complete

The Water Authority remained on track to reach a historic water supply milestone with the $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Project reaching 90 percent completion at the end of June. Commercial operations are scheduled to start in late 2015.

The project includes the largest, most technologically advanced and energy-efficient seawater desalination plant in the nation; a 10-mile pipeline to connect with the Water Authority’s regional distribution system; and about $80 million in upgrades to Water Authority facilities for distributing desalinated water throughout the region.

At the end of June, the pipeline had been completed, as were upgrades to Water Authority facilities, including the relining of Pipeline 3. In addition, the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant north of San Marcos successfully completed testing for accepting water from the desalination plant.

The project is the result of a 30-year Water Purchase Agreement between the Water Authority and Poseidon Water for the purchase of between 48,000 and 56,000 acre-feet per year of desalinated seawater. The plant will produce about one-third of all the water generated in San Diego County in 2020, helping reduce reliance on imported water at a time when hot and dry conditions are depleting water supplies statewide.

After 30 years, the Water Authority has the right, but not the obligation, to purchase the desalination plant for $1.

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Potable reuse committee charts regional course

The Water Authority redoubled its efforts to support the development of potable water reuse as the next major increment of local supply by forming the Potable Reuse Coordinating Committee with its member agencies. The committee encourages sharing information and aligning efforts in three key areas: public outreach, the pursuit of grant funding and the state’s development of regulatory criteria.

In conjunction with the committee, the Water Authority developed educational materials that explain the process of water purification and its role in the regional water supply diversification strategy. Water Authority staff also joined member agencies staff to attend state expert panel and advisory group meetings about potable reuse and track potential impacts on planned local projects. In addition, the Water Authority supported member agencies' efforts to secure grant money for potable reuse projects by providing comments on state funding criteria and coordinating on legislation to provide federal financial support.