Finance agreed for Camarillo regional desalter studies

Two water districts and two – possibly three – cities in southern California have agree to finance studies for a regional brackish-water desalination plant to be located near Camarillo.

According to the Draft 2010 Urban Water Management Plan Update, prepared for the Calleguas Municipal Water District (CMWD) by Black & Veatch and published in February 2011, the desalination plant would pump and treat brackish groundwater for potable water use and discharge reverse-osmosis concentrate to the Calleguas Salinity Management Pipeline, currently under construction.

A pilot study report prepared by CDM Consultants dated January 2009 indicated that up to 7,000 acre-feet (8.6 million m³) per year of high quality potable water could be produced at this location on a sustainable basis. Water produced from this facility would be conveyed to nearby City of Camarillo distribution pipelines and also to CMWD transmission pipelines for delivery to other CWMD purveyors.

The cities of Camarillo and Thousand Oaks, along with Calleguas Municipal Water District and Camrosa Water District, agreed to share costs for two studies on the project, termed the North Pleasant Valley Desalter. Simi Valley has also shown interest.

According to a report in the Ventura County Star on 11 March 2011, the unit price for water produced from the desalter is estimated to be about US$ 900 per acre-foot. Camarillo pays about US$ 1,100/acre-foot for imported water via the State Water Project.

· Meanwhile, in nearby Oxnard, the Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF), under construction since February 2010, is around 60% complete. It is anticipated that the facility will be operational later in 2011.

Water produced from the AWPF will be further purified using a three-step process of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light/hydrogen peroxide treatment techniques.

The AWPF is part of the Groundwater Recovery Enhancement and Treatment (GREAT) Program, a comprehensive water supply project that is designed to improve water supply reliability, sustainability and water quality, and reduce reliance on additional imported water. Approximately 2,700 acre-feet (3.3 million m³) per year of recycled water from the GREAT Program is projected to be directly used as recycled water by 2015, increasing to about 7,000 acre-feet (8.6 million m³) per year by 2035.