Former Baja California project partners in legal spat

A giant seawater desalination facility proposed for Baja California, is currently mired in a legal wrangle between former partners in the venture according to a report in local newspaper, The San Diego Union-Tribune. Were it to go ahead the 400 Ml/d Rosarito Beach plant would topple the recently opened Carlsbad plant from its position as the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere.

But octogenarian, Gough Thompson, and his former partners in the development of the project: Baja California businessman; Alejandro de la Vega, and water supplier Consolidated Water; are battling in the US and Mexican courts over shareholdings in NSC Agua – the company they set up to develop the project.

Meanwhile NSC Agua is preparing its bid to build, finance and operate the facility under Baja California’s new public-private partnership law.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, state officials have revealed that seven potential bidders have have come forward. Final proposals are due by March 23, and the announcement of the winner is expected in May. The first construction phase is slated for a 2019 start with full buildout by 2024.

Baja California officials have been reported as saying the plant is intended as a source of water for the state’s need. But state authorities have, according to the San Diego Union- Tribune, been in talks with San Diego County’s Otay Water District over the sale of water to the municipality when the project enters its second phase.

The district has sought a permit to build pipeline to carry up to 200 Ml/d from Mexico to California.