Water Authority moves forward on seawater desalination

Short Title
Water Authority moves forward on seawater desalination
Agency launches environmental review and design process
May 22, 2003

The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors today took two more steps forward in the development of the Water Authority Seawater Desalination Project at the Encina Power Plant in Carlsbad that could supply eight percent of the county's water by 2008.

The board authorized a $475,000 contract with Irvine-based RBF Consulting to provide environmental support services for the proposed Water Authority Seawater Desalination Project. Under the contract, RBF will prepare an environmental impact report for the project.

The board also approved a $1.5 million contract with Boyle Engineering Corporation, headquartered in Newport Beach, to begin a feasibility study and preliminary design for the pipelines that would convey the desalinated water from the desalination plant in Carlsbad to the Water Authority's existing pipeline delivery system. In January, the Water Authority board identified seawater desalination as the best apparent alternative for providing a new, reliable supply of water for the San Diego region.

"Seawater desalination will play a vital role in our water supply future," said Water Authority Board Chairman Bernie Rhinerson. "Seawater desalination is also a drought-proof water supply that will be significant in our efforts to diversify our water portfolio."

When built, the Water Authority's seawater desalination facility would become the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The facility, which could be completed by 2008, will produce 56,000 acre-feet of treated drinking water annually, enough water to serve the annual needs of 112,000 families.

"Seawater desalination also provides many other benefits, including price certainty, new treatment capacity and improved water quality," said Rhinerson.

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 the region's $126 billion economy and quality of life for nearly 3 million residents.

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