Water Authority board approves seawater desalination agreement with Carlsbad

Short Title
Water Authority board approves seawater desalination agreement with Carlsbad
Agencies to begin planning for regional facility at Encina Power Station
April 28, 2005

The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors today approved an agreement with the city of Carlsbad that defines how the two agencies plan to work together to develop a regional seawater desalination plant at the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad. Last week, the Carlsbad City Council, the Carlsbad Municipal Water District, and the Carlsbad Housing and Redevelopment Commission unanimously approved the agreement.

The agreement between the two agencies focuses on a single regional project that will allow the Water Authority to deliver desalinated seawater throughout San Diego County and provide a local supply for Carlsbad.

Seawater desalination figures prominently in the Water Authority’s long-term strategy to diversify the region’s water supply. By 2020, regional seawater desalination plants could produce up to 15 percent of the water needed in San Diego County. A proposed seawater desalination facility at the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad is the region’s most immediate and promising opportunity to bring this new water supply to the county.

The agreement sets forth the specific terms and conditions for a partnership between the two agencies. This sets the stage for a collaborative project that could begin producing drought-proof water for San Diego County as soon as 2010.

The agreement guarantees Carlsbad up to 5,000 acre-feet of water per year as a local supply, enhancing the reliability of the city’s water supply during times of drought or cutbacks. It also addresses the city’s concerns about economic impacts of public agency development in the South Carlsbad Coastal Redevelopment Area where the project is proposed. In support of achieving long-standing land use planning goals in the South Carlsbad Coastal Redevelopment area, the Water Authority would provide approximately $20 million in financial contributions to the redevelopment area to fund public enhancement projects that will improve coastal access for residents and visitors, enhance recreation and improve traffic flow in the area.

The Water Authority will now invite the other stakeholders; Cabrillo Power I LLC and Poseidon Resources, to discuss how all four parties might work together on a partnership structure that results in development of a regional seawater desalination facility to serve all of San Diego County. Cabrillo Power is the site host and owner of the Encina Power Station. Poseidon Resources, a private company, is the leaseholder on a potential site for seawater desalination facilities at the Encina Power Station.

The Water Authority, in close coordination with Carlsbad, will complete its environmental impact report on the regional project for certification by its board of directors in late 2005. Once the EIR is certified, the board will be able to approve the project and move ahead with development of the regional project.

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