Avalon ponders second desalination plant to curb rationing
The city of Avalon on Catalina Island, California is considering a US$ 0.5 million contribution to a proposed second desalination unit in a bid to avoid further water rationing.The 0.75-1 Ml/d proposed plant at Southern California Edison's (SCE's) Pebbly Beach facility will produce twice Avalon's off-peak water demand. The city is looking to hold off the introduction of phase 3 water rationing which requires a 50% reduction in consumption.
"It is important to recognize that this additional proposed desalination unit is not the solution to the island's water challenges; instead, it is only a short term resolve to prevent the onset of Phase 3 water rationing," said Avalon's city manager, Ben Harvey in a letter to citizens.
Avalon and greater Catalina Island communites are considered as commendable in their efforts to reduce water use having cut theirs by a third according to a report from SCE. But the island communities believe further cuts would be challenging particularly for hotels which are pivotal to the local economy.
Avalon's city council is soon to review a proposed US$ 0.5 million contribution to the second SCE desalination project. And it is looking to potential grant sources to shore up the finances of the proposed plant including the desalination component of California's Proposition 1 water bond set up to fund water infrastructure projects.
SCE is completing the necessary permitting having filed its permit for the project with the California Coastal Commission. Other legislative challenges include those relating to the saline discharge from the plant.
SCE and Avalon are anticipating an autumn start for the plant's operation - a the time when phase 3 rationing is expected to begin.
It is important to recognize that this additional proposed desalination unit is not the solution to the island's water challenges; instead, it is only a short term resolve to prevent the onset of Phase 3 water rationing. However, with a "patchwork quilt" approach of other remedies including proposed additional potential wells, reclaimed water and advanced technologies, ultimately Catalina Island and the City of Avalon will have a more sustainable and promising water-related future.