Water Authority To Join U.S. Desalination Coalition

Short Title
Water Authority To Join U.S. Desalination Coalition
Water Authority Board Approves Membership in Desalination Coalition
February 27, 2003

The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors today authorized the Water Authority to join the United States Desalination Coalition, a non-profit organization formed to advocate at the federal level for desalination facilities.

“This coalition of water agencies will raise the visibility of desalination at the federal level as a viable and important option in meeting the future demand for water,” said Bernie Rhinerson, Water Authority board chairman. “Since the Water Authority is pursuing building a seawater desalination facility in Carlsbad and nearly half of our nation’s population lives within 50 miles of the coastline, it makes sense for us to join an organization that will urge the federal government to become actively involved in this issue that is so critical to the nation’s water future.”

The United States Desalination Coalition, as a national organization of desalination agencies, will represent the Water Authority and other Southern California water agencies in Washington, D.C. The Water Authority has determined that the best way to ensure a reliable supply of water for the future is through the diversification of its water supply resources. Seawater desalination has been identified as the best apparent alternative for providing a new supply of safe, reliable water for the San Diego region in the Water Authority’s Draft Water Facilities Master Plan.

“Seawater desalination will be a critical resource in our water supply future,” said Rhinerson. “Importantly, for our $126 billion regional economy, it is also a drought-proof supply.”

At its November 2002 meeting, the Water Authority board approved a term sheet with Poseidon Resources Corporation that could lead to the development of a desalination facility at the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad. When completed, the Carlsbad facility will be the largest desalination project in the Western Hemisphere. The plant, which could be completed by 2008, would produce 56,000 acre-feet of treated drinking water annually, enough water to serve the annual needs of 112,000 families.

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 almost three million county residents.

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