Bond sale saves 10 cents on Carlsbad water price

The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) announced on 14 December 2012 that bonds for the 189,000 m³/d Carlsbad Desalination Plant had been sold at a cheaper rate than had been anticipated.

This has reduced the water price by around US$ 0.10/m³.

The SDCWA last month approved an agreement to buy up to 56,000 acre-feet (AF) (69 million m³) per year from Poseidon Resources, developers of the desalination project, to secure its water supply. The 30-year purchase agreement was based on a projected cost range of US$ 2,042-2,290/AF (US$ 1.55-1.86/m³).

However, rather than selling at an interest rate of 5.2-5.6% as forecast in November 2012 by Ken Weinberg, director of water resources for SDCWA, the bonds realised a rate of 4.78%. This saved approximately US$ 125/AF (US$ 0.10/m³), reducing the price of water from the plant to US$ 1,917‑2,165/AF (US$1.55‑1.76/m³).

Construction of the plant is set to start early in 2013 next to the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad. The project also includes a 10 mile (16 km) pipeline that connects the new plant to the WDCWA aqueduct in San Marcos.

The reverse-osmosis desalination equipment and plant operation for Carlsbad will be provided by IDE Technologies. Commercial operations are expected in 2016.