Seawater desalination to be studied at San Onofre

Short Title
Seawater desalination to be studied at San Onofre
Water Authority board approves memorandum with Southern California Edison
June 26, 2003

The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors today approved execution of a Memorandum of Understanding with Southern California Edison (SCE) to explore the feasibility of building a regional seawater desalination plant at or near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). SCE is the majority owner of the power plant, which is located on U.S Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton.

SONGS, like other coastal power generation facilities, offers potential co-location benefits for a desalination facility including the availability of power on-site, existing intake and discharge infrastructure and a compatible land use.

The Water Authority will conduct a pre-feasibility level, fatal-flaw analysis to determine if there are potentially serious or insurmountable obstacles to developing a regional desalination facility at, or adjacent to the San Onofre site. The Municipal Water District of Orange County will reimburse the Water Authority for half of the study's cost. If built, a regional desalination facility could serve both San Diego and Orange counties.

"The Water Authority has identified seawater desalination as a potentially significant source of San Diego County's future water supply," said Bernie Rhinerson, Water Authority board chairman. "We are making significant progress on our efforts to build a major desalination plant in Carlsbad. This pre-feasibility study will show whether or not San Onofre makes sense for a future desalination project.

The MOU specifically defines the responsibilities of both organizations involved with the study. The Water Authority plans to complete the pre-feasibility study by the end of 2003. The Water Authority will then decide whether a comprehensive feasibility study should be conducted.

The Municipal Water District of Orange County is a public planning and resource management agency that was formed in 1951 and today provides imported water to more than two million Orange County residents through 28 cities and water districts and two private water companies.

The San Diego County Water Authority is a public agency serving the San Diego region as a wholesale supplier of water from the Colorado River and Northern California. The Water Authority works through its 23 member agencies to provide a safe, reliable water supply to support our region's $126 billion economy and the quality of life of nearly 3 million residents. 

# # #