CalAm opts for recycling over desalination

In a testimony supporting a major groundwater replenishment project, president of water supplier, California American Water (CalAm), Rob MacLean, has told the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) the proposed project was preferable to building a large desalinated facility.

“By maximizing recycled water opportunities, we will be able to decrease the size of our proposed desalination plant and reduce our environmental footprint. He said he was “hopeful” the commission would come to the conclusion the project’s cost was “reasonable” and that it would “affirm the advantages [the project] has over building a larger desalination plant.”

MacLean told the CPUC the groundwater replenishment project – known as Pure Water Monterey - was preferable to a large desalination plant and it could “bring advantages in terms of schedule and reduced environmental impacts.” Pure Water Monterey is part of a larger proposal - the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project - which would include a 25 Ml/d seawater desalination facility and expanded underground storage of excess winter river flows.

He said the cost to customers for the project will be the same or slightly higher those form a large desalination.

CalAm has almost completed a water purchase agreement for Pure Water Monterey, for the annual supply of 4,400 Ml of treated, recycled water for the Monterey Peninsula.

CPUCis expected to issue its decision on the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project, including approval of the Pure Water Monterey purchase agreement, by the end of the year.

Added to existing supplies, including groundwater and 375 Ml a year from the Sand City desalination facility, the project will meet the water demands of the Monterey Peninsula community and reduce production from the Carmel River.

The Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project is scheduled for completion in 2019. with water flowing from Pure Water Monterey in July of that year.