Mexico project passes permissions hurdle
Otay Water District in California, US, has won a presidential permission to build a pipeline across the border with Mexico, clearing an important hurdle for Consolidated Water's proposed Rosarito Beach project.
The outlook for the desalination project was revealed to be uncertain in March 2017. At that time, Consolidated reported that its special purpose vehicle set up to deliver the scheme, Aguas de Rosarito, had proposed to increase the tariff set out in its original agreement with Baja California state, following "significant macroeconomic changes", since the US presidential election in November 2016.
The scheme to build a 379,000 m3/d desalination plant proposes to produce water in Baja California, Mexico, and sell 10 to 20 per cent of it across the border to Otay Water District -- an idea seemingly out of step with president Trump's rhetoric about strengthening borders between the US and Mexico. The granting of the presidential permit required to build the cross-border pipe clears a potential stumbling block from the project's path.
"Otay Water is like most local water utilities in that nearly all of our water comes from either the Colorado River or the Bay Delta area. Those sources are reasonably reliable but not foolproof. Having a source of water, such as desalinated water, which is not subject to reduction due to drought increases our reliability in the long term," said Otay Water District board treasurer Mitch Thompson. "Water reliability is an essential for our community's prosperity and for our overall quality of life. The Rosarito Beach site is one of the prime locations on the pacific side of the western hemisphere for a desalination plant. Taking advantage of this makes all the sense in the world. The presidential permit is an important step toward realizing the goal for this ambitious project."
"This is also a prime example of how important solutions to our common challenges are possible on an international basis. Seeing two countries and two communities that are divided by a national border work together demonstrates what is possible with cooperation between nations. In short, our whole region, the Tijuana-San Diego Region, benefits from this," he added.