Water authority seeks to buy Carlsbad desalination water

The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) in California voted on 24 June 2010 to work on a contract with Poseidon Resources to purchase water from Poseidon’s Carlsbad Desalination Project.

This follows the lawsuit launched by the SDCWA against the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) which has ended the possibility of the MWD subsidising water purchases from the project and also Poseidon’s proposed desalination plant at Huntington Beach.

Poseidon currently has water purchase agreements with nine San Diego County retail water agencies collectively known as the San Diego Desal Partners. Each of the partners is a local water retailer and member agency of the SDCWA. They will relinquish their rights to the project output if Poseidon and the SDCWA are able to reach an agreement.

The whole Carlsbad project was projected on the MWD subsidy, which would have reimbursed the partners up to US$ 250/acre-foot (US$ 0.20/m³), making the total price comparable with other water sources. The other agencies are: City of Oceanside, Valley Center Municipal Water District; Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District; Sweetwater Authority; Rainbow Municipal Water District; Vallecitos Water District; Santa Fe Irrigation District; and Olivenhain Municipal Water District.

The 189,000 m³/d Carlsbad seawater reverse-osmosis plant is fully permitted, and Poseidon started phase one construction on the facility in November 2009.

“Today’s action by the San Diego County Water Authority demonstrates the critical importance of the Carlsbad Desalination Project to the region’s water supply reliability,” said Poseidon Resources senior vice president Peter MacLaggan. “The direct involvement of the Water Authority ensures that the water supply benefits associated with the project will be shared throughout the region.”