Marin board approves EIR for desalination plant

The board of the Marin Metropolitan Water District in California, USA, voted to accept the environmental impact report on a possible desalination plant (see D&WR technical article August/September 2008).

In the face of many protests that conservation not desalination was the answer, MMWD officials said conservation was a priority, with a $140 million plan in place for the coming years. By contrast, a 5 MGD (19,000 m³/d) desalination plant would cost $105 million to build. It would be expandable to 15 MGD (57,000 m³/d).

The water district has already asked its 190,000 customers to reduce outdoor watering and prepare for water cutbacks of 10-25%.

The water district’s seven reservoirs are at 54% of capacity. If the reservoir capacity does not improve before April, the district will impose a 10% voluntary water reduction on users. If water storage slips below 50%, there would be a mandatory 25% cut.

The discussion about water supply will continue at a board meeting on 11 February 2009.