California gives green light to Monterey desalination plant

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved the Monterey Peninsula Supply Project, which includes a 6.4 million gallons a day (24,227 m3/d) desalination plant north of Monterey.

The water management scheme comprises constructing the desalination plant, expanding aquifer storage, and buying recycled water supplies from Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency.

California American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, is expected to complete the desalination facility by 2021, at an estimated cost of $329 million.

The project is designed with slant wells for intake at a 15 to 20 per cent angle, to help reduce impacts on marine life.

An environmental review by CPUC and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary found the desalination proposal to be the least impactful and most environmentally friendly way to address water shortages in the area.

California state is requiring a significant reduction in pumping water from the Carmel River, Monterey County, by 2021.