By Karen Brainard
As one of 24 member agencies of the San Diego County Water Authority (CWA), Ramona Municipal Water District may have to purchase desalinated water even though the water would not be distributed to Ramona.
According to RMWD General Manager David Barnum, who is the district’s representative on the CWA board, desalinated water will be more expensive.
On Oct. 25, the CWA board is scheduled to vote on a draft water purchase agreement with Poseidon Resources that has a desalination project in Carlsbad to provide a source of potable water. CWA has been diversifying the region’s water supply portfolio by investing in other sources for water to reduce its reliance on imported water from the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District, he said.
The water authority estimates that desalinated water would provide 8 to 10 percent of the total regional supply by 2020.
Barnum gave the RMWD board information about the desalination project at its Aug. 28 meeting and said he will need direction from the board by October on how he should vote.
Although every agency has the option to vote on the purchase agreement, the majority wins, Barnum said, and “we would all share in the supply and cost.“
RMWD would not receive any desalinated water, he explained, because Ramona’s location is too far north of the distribution pipeline.
Barnum noted: “RMWD water quality will not change.”
The Carlsbad plant is estimated to begin operations in 2016. Preliminary pricing for desalinated water is almost twice the cost of current treated water. Barnum said it is unknown how the purchase agreement would affect RMWD rates.
The water authority has been working to increase its regional supply for emergency situtations and because it claims the MWD is overcharging.
In other Aug. 28 meeting topics, the board thanked Sunset Marine for donating services worth $532 to repair a 16-foot aluminum boat with an outboard motor that is used for Lake Ramona inspections.