Desalination plant 25 percent complete, water officials report

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.

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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 San Diego County Water Authority is taking to reduce reliance on imported water. The water authority also is 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 board. “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.”

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. Ramona Municipal Water District is among public agencies that are members of the water authority.

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

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with water authority 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, officials said the water authority 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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