San Diego County Water Authority Board Chair Mark Weston on Monday welcomed an estimated 1,500 water industry experts from around the world to San Diego to open the International Desalination Association’s World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse.
The weeklong event features tours of the nearly completed Carlsbad Desalination Project, which will provide the San Diego region with 50 million gallons of water a day by late fall as the nation’s largest and most technologically advanced seawater desalination project. Poseidon Water, the project’s private developer, is testing the plant and seeking state certification for commercial operations.
“After more than a decade in development, we are excited to see the Carlsbad Desalination Project becoming a reality,” Weston said. “The current challenging water supply conditions across the state underscore the need for water agencies to aggressively seek new water sources as we conserve all existing supplies. The Carlsbad project will produce a permanent, drought-proof supply that meets 7 to 10 percent of our region’s water demand.
“Decades of refinements to desalination technology make the Carlsbad project an attractive element of our diversified water supply portfolio. At the same time, we continue to enhance widespread conservation efforts, and we are excited about the potential for water purification to become the next major source of supply for our region. Taken as a whole, our integrated water supply investment strategy allows us to maintain a safe and reliable water supply supporting our economy and communities for decades to come.”
The $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Project is the result of a 30-year Water Purchase Agreement between the Water Authority and Poseidon Water signed in late 2012 for the purchase of between 48,000 and 56,000 acre-feet per year of desalinated seawater. That’s enough water to serve approximately 400,000 people. The project includes three main components: the desalination plant, the pipeline, and upgrades to Water Authority facilities for distributing the desalinated water throughout the region. Overall, the project is more than 98 percent complete.
Patricia A. Burke, secretary general of the International Desalination Association, praised the San Diego region in written remarks to conference delegates, saying it has been “forward-thinking in terms of water management.”
Said Burke: “San Diego has long been considered to be the epicenter of desalination and water reuse development in the USA, and it continues to be a hotbed of innovation. It is home to many of the industry’s leading membrane manufacturers, universities, research and development centers, project developers and industry leaders.”
For more information about the International Desalination Association, go to idadesal.org. For more information about the Carlsbad Desalination Project, visit the project website at carlsbaddesal.com or the Water Authority’s website at sdcwa.org.