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Water Authority Asks Public To Weigh In On Proposed Desalination Agreement

Sandra Kerl, deputy general manager San Diego County Water Authority

Transcript

Public Meeting

The water authority is actively seeking public comment on the proposed agreement with Poseidon Resources. The next public meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the city of Carlsbad’s Faraday Center, 1635 Faraday Ave., Carlsbad.

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Poseidon Memo Rebutting CERF Brief

Poseidon Memo Rebutting CERF Brief

Poseidon Resources sent this memo to the San Diego County Water Authority in response to the brief published by a group of southern California ocean conservation organizations.

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Some say water is the most important issue for San Diego's future. After all, civilizations have risen and fallen when their access to water dried up.

The San Diego County Water Authority recently released an important agreement to buy water from a proposed water desalination plant in Carlsbad. If it comes online, the water authority says it could provide enough water to cover 7 percent of San Diego's water needs. Poseidon Resources, the private company that would build the desalination plant, estimates the building cost to be $900 million.

Sandra Kerl, the deputy general manager for the San Diego County Water Authority, told KPBS this agreement is an important component of the authority's diversification strategy.

"Desalination has been in our plans for quite some time," she said.

If the plant comes online, the water it will supply will be "directly controlled and not subject to outside forces making that water available," she said.

No representatives from Poseidon were available for comment.

Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California, has written extensively about the proposed Carlsbad plant, and the cost of desalination.

He wrote in a blog post for Forbes Magazine that while "desalination makes more sense than water transfers through the ocean from water-rich to water-poor regions, it turns out that not all desalination plants make sense."

Southern California ocean conservation activists including the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, California Coastal Protection Network, the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and Orange County Coastkeeper are critical of the proposed desalination agreement. The group published this history and analysis of the project.

Since the desalination plant will cost $115 million dollars a year, Kerl projects a water bill for a single-family household to increase 5 to 7 dollars a month.

Currently San Diego gets its water from two sources, the State Water Project and the Colorado River. Kerl says both sources have risks and San Diego needs a reliable source long into the future.

Kerl said the public will be heard before the deal is finalized.

"This is not a done deal, this is completely up to the board of directors to make the decision whether they think this is an appropriate agreement," she said.

The water authority is actively seeking public comment on the proposed agreement with Poseidon Resources. The next public meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the city of Carlsbad’s Faraday Center, 1635 Faraday Ave., Carlsbad.

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