Arcadis-designed seawater desalination plant Carlsbad produces first water for bone-dry San Diego, California
After three years of construction, the San Diego County Water Authority and Poseidon Water dedicated the Carlsbad desalination plant on 14 December.
The plant will be fully operational by 2016. It will be able to deliver up to 190.000 cubic meters water per day, making it the biggest desalination plant in the US.
Private investor-owned company Poseidon Water is owner of the plant and responsible for 30 years delivery of the water to San Diego County Water Authority, helping to minimize the region’s vulnerability to the severe drought conditions.
Leading design firm was consultant Arcadis, acting as subcontractor to prime engineering contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Company.
The plant uses reverse osmosis to produce approximately 10 percent of the region’s water supply. It is a core supply regardless of weather conditions, and it is blended with water from other sources for regional distribution.
Zero net carbon footprint
The 1 billion US dollar desalination project includes three main components: the desalination on Agua Hedionda lagoon, a 10-mile pipeline that connects to the water authority's regional distribution system, and upgrades to distribution facilities.
The plant includes state-of-the-art technology to reduce energy demands, and it will be the first water infrastructure project in the US to have a zero net carbon footprint.
The Carlsbad Desalination Plant is the result of a 30-year water purchase agreement between the plant's developer and owner, Poseidon Water, and the San Diego County Water Authority.
The water authority has the option, but not the obligation, to buy the project starting 10 years after commercial operations begin. After 30 years, the water authority has the right, but not the obligation, to purchase the desalination plant for 1 dollar.
Drought-proof water supply
After completing construction, the Carlsbad desalination plant has already produced more than 1.5 billion gallons of locally controlled water for San Diego County.
To commemorate the historic occasion, several officials, including California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, attended the dedication event.
"Since the last major drought here a little over 20 years ago, the San Diego region has worked to conserve water as well as identify new water sources," said Atkins. "The Poseidon project not only provides San Diego County with a drought-proof water supply, it also demonstrates how California can meet the water needs of future generations."
"Dedication of the Carlsbad Desalination Plant marks a major milestone in California water history," said Mark Weston, chair of the Water Authority’s board of directors. "The water Authority and its member agencies have been aggressively diversifying the region’s water supply for decades, and the Carlsbad desalination plant is a major component of that effort."
Five dollar per month
It costs Poseidon Water less than 0.5 cents to produce a gallon of drinking water at the plant. Desalinated water will cost typical homeowners in the region about an additional 5 dollar per month, in line with the low end of projections when the project was launched in late 2012. The costs are already factored into the Water Authority’s 2016 rates.
Poseidon Water is a private company that partners with public agencies to deliver water infrastructure projects. The company’s primary focus is developing large-scale reverse osmosis seawater desalination plants, and Poseidon is developing a second desalination facility in Huntington Beach, Calif.
This news item was originally published on the website of Carlsbad desalination plant.
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A look at California's newest drought-proof water supply: Carlsbad desalination plant.