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Carlsbad Desalination Plant Construction On Track To Meet 2016 Goal

Credit: San Diego County Water Authority

File photo of pipeline construction in San Marcos

The $1 billion water desalination plant being built in Carlsbad is 25 percent complete after one year of construction, and is on time and within budget, area water officials said Wednesday.

When complete in 2016, the plant will be the largest of its kind in the western hemisphere, converting enough ocean water into drinking water for 112,000 households annually, according to Poseidon Water, the project developer.

The plant is one of several steps the San Diego County Water Authority is taking to reducing reliance on imported water. The SDCWA is also enlarging the San Vicente Reservoir.

"The past two dry years in California, plus the prospect of a third dry year in 2014, underscore the importance and value of investing in long-term, drought-proof water sources such as the Carlsbad Desalination Project," said Thomas Wornham, chairman of the water authority's Board of Directors.

"We are pleased with the progress to date and eager for the plant to start producing water that will help support our region's 3.1 million residents and its $188 billion economy," he said.

The water authority has an agreement in place to take deliveries from the plant for 30 years, as long as the water meets quality standards.

The plant will send the desalinated seawater via a pipeline through Carlsbad, Vista and San Marcos, where it will hook up with SDCWA pipes.

The 10-mile connector pipeline is nearing completion in San Marcos and Vista. Construction in Carlsbad is under way, with work expected to last through 2015.

In addition, the Water Authority said it is making about $80 million in upgrades to its own facilities so it can deliver desalinated seawater into its Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant for distribution throughout the region.

In 2020, the project will meet about 7 percent of the region's water demand, according to the agency.

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | January 9, 2014 at 7:22 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

150,000 households doesn't sound like that many people for that kind of money.

What are they doing with the salt they remove?

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | January 9, 2014 at 7:56 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Wow! Amazing! Great job SDCWA!

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | January 9, 2014 at 8:03 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

didn't the last desalination plant sold for scrap?

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Avatar for user 'ReefBreak'

ReefBreak | February 26, 2014 at 8:51 a.m. ― 2 years, 12 months ago

Seawater is about 3% salt on average, although it varies considerably due to many causes.
The water comes into the plant at 3% and 1/2 of the water exits as pure water, the other half exits at 6% back to the ocean. The effects of higher salinity have been studied by Scripps Institution of Oceanography and have not found any major problems. The plants and animals in the ocean can deal with variable salinity, both natural and man made.

Not scrap. The last desalination plant was at the Point Loma sewer plant. It was disassembled and shipped to Cuba many years ago for fresh water at a military base there.

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