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San Elijo Drilling Project Has Mixed Result

— Geologists spent the last three months of 2012 drilling deep into the rock and sediment under the ecologically delicate San Elijo Lagoon looking for water.

Aired 1/7/13 on KPBS News.

Water officials should know soon whether it makes financial sense to tap into an aquifer under the San Elijo Lagoon. Cost is a major consideration.

Crews did find the water they believed was there and the brackish mixture is less salty than they expected. That means it will cost less money to filter out the salts.

But, there isn't as much water as they expected and they would have to drill more than one well.

"More area, more up front capital costs, more maintenance," said Kim Thorner, general manager for the Olivenhain Municipal Water District. "And that's what they're going to analyze, and that's when we see if the project is financially viable."

The water agency's board will review its option next month. Thorner said the panel will likely move forward, if the extraction and treatment don't get too expensive.

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