Water board says No to desalinated water

By Karen Brainard

Saying the cost would be prohibitive for Ramona, directors of the Ramona Municipal Water District voted against participation in a draft agreement for desalinated water at its Nov. 13 meeting.

The draft agreement is between San Diego County Water Authority and Poseidon Resources, which has proposed building a desalination plant in Carlsbad. RMWD is one of 24 CWA member agencies.

RMWD General Manager David Barnum, who  represents the district on the CWA board, will take the no vote to the water authority’s Nov. 29 board meeting when a vote is expected to take place. He noted that the member agencies have weighted votes based on their water allocation. Ramona has a 1.6 percent weighted vote while the City of San Diego has about a 40 percent share, he said, and majority rules.

If 51 percent of the vote goes for desal water, the new source will become another supply in the water authority’s portfolio “and we would participate in that supply and in that cost,” said Barnum.

He said RMWD anticipates desalinated water would increase rates 10 to 12 percent at minimum. The cost of desal water is approximately twice the cost of potable water, said Barnum, but it will add about 8 percent to the CWA water supply.

“Ramona has reduced its water supply by approximately 50 percent,” said Board President Bryan Wadlington. “Water supply is not an issue for Ramona.”

   
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