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Agreement Reached To Study Desalination Plant At Camp Pendleton

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Aired 4/23/10

The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies today to study the feasibility of building a desalination plant on the base.

The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies today to study the feasibility of building a desalination plant on the base.

In a news release, the Water Authority says the agreement sets terms and conditions for it to conduct offshore and onshore technical studies. It will provide a framework for Camp Pendleton to evaluate whether a desalination facility would adversely impact military training, the environment, or the quality of life of Camp Pendleton residents.

The Water Authority says two potential sites for the plant, both in the southwest corner of the base near the mouth of the Santa Margarita River, were reviewed as part of a feasibility study in 2009. That Water Authority study identified Camp Pendleton as a desirable location for several reasons:

  • The location has the potential availability of a coastal site large enough to accommodate a large-scale, expandable facility;
  • A plant at Camp Pendleton could produce between 50 million and 150 million gallons per day, or 56,000 to 168,000 acre-feet annually;
  • A facility at the north end of the Water Authority’s regional aqueduct system also would allow for more extensive and efficient distribution of the desalinated water.

The Camp Pendleton seawater desalination studies, along with similar studies planned or under way for potential sites in Baja California, will be used in the development of a 2012 Regional Water Facilities Master Plan.

The Water Authority will use the plan to determine the need for additional seawater desalination, compare it against other supply alternatives, and recommend projects for inclusion in its capital improvement program in order to meet future water supply reliability needs for San Diego County.

The studies will enable the Water Authority to evaluate the feasibility and cost of building and operating a seawater desalination plant on the base capable of producing 50 million gallons or more of drinking water daily.

The MOU does not obligate either party beyond the study phase.

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