Carlsbad Desalination Project Crews Reach Halfway Point on Construction of 10-Mile Pipeline

May 29, 2014

The 10-mile pipeline that will connect the Carlsbad Desalination Plant to the San Diego County Water Authority’s distribution system is…

The 10-mile pipeline that will connect the Carlsbad Desalination Plant to the San Diego County Water Authority’s distribution system is 50 percent complete, Poseidon Water and the Water Authority announced today. Approximately five miles – or 26,400 linear feet – of the large-diameter pipe has been installed through San Marcos, Vista and Carlsbad.

When finished, the Carlsbad Desalination Project will be the largest, most technologically advanced and energy-efficient seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. It will produce up to 50 million gallons a day and account for about one-third of all the water generated in San Diego County, helping reduce reliance on imported water as part of the Water Authority’s multi-decade strategy to enhance the region’s water supply reliability. In 2020, the project will meet about 7 percent of the region’s water demand.

“Through the construction of the Carlsbad Desalination Project, we are working to deliver enough high-quality, fresh drinking water to serve approximately 112,000 San Diego County households,” said Peter MacLaggan, Vice President of Poseidon Water, the project’s private developer. “A project of this size is an enormous task that impacts the communities where we are working, and we would not be celebrating this milestone without the cooperation and support of the residents, businesses, property owners and city staff in Carlsbad, Vista and San Marcos.”

Pipeline installation began in spring 2013 in San Marcos, where street restoration is under way. Restorations are also occurring in Vista this month. Construction in Carlsbad, home to the largest portion of the pipeline, is ongoing. Crews recently installed a critical segment of pipeline along Cannon Road east of Interstate 5, and they are working around the clock to install pipeline along Faraday Avenue. Additionally, pipeline installation on South Melrose Drive began this month and is expected to continue through 2015.

 “We are thrilled with the smooth progress of construction on this vital project,” said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the Water Authority. “Current statewide drought conditions underscore the value of diversifying the water supplies that support our region’s 3.1 million residents, and the Carlsbad Desalination Project is an important part of our strategy to enhance water supply reliability.”

This $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Project is the result of a 30-year Water Purchase Agreement between the Water Authority and Poseidon Water for the purchase of up to 56,000 acre-feet per year of desalinated seawater. It includes three main components: the desalination plant, the pipeline, and about $80 million in upgrades the Water Authority is making to its facilities so it can distribute the desalinated water throughout the region. The project is scheduled to be online by early 2016, though deliveries could begin as soon as fall 2015.

During the three-year construction process, the desalination project is supporting an estimated 2,500 jobs and infusing $350 million into the local economy.

 For more information about the Carlsbad Desalination Project, visit the project website at, or the Water Authority’s website,

  • The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $268 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 23 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.

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