CARLSBAD — Exactly one year after ground was broken on the project, Carlsbad’s desalination plant about one fourth constructed and on its way to start operating in early 2016.
The $1 billion desalination plant is designed to filter seawater from the Pacific Ocean to create drinking water. It will produce 50 million gallons of drinking water daily and is the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere.
Thomas Wornham, the Water Authority Chair of SDCWA (San Diego County Water Authority), emphasized that at full operation, the desalination project will generate up to 10 percent of the county’s water supply by about 2020.
In November 2012, the SDCWA approved a 30-year water purchase agreement with Poseidon Resources, the owner of the desalination plant, to buy up to 56.000 acre-feet of desalinated seawater each year.
In doing so, the desalination plant will help SDCWA diversify its water sources, particularly in light of limited water supply and cost disputes with the agency’s main supplier.
Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall called the desalination project, “one of the premiere projects throughout this whole country.”
He lauded the project for bringing about 2,500 jobs and $350 million into the city’s economy during its three-year construction.
The plant is being constructed on the coastline next to the NRG Energy power plant on Carlsbad Boulevard. Ten miles of pipeline to distribute the water is also currently being built through Carlsbad, Vista, and San Marcos.
NRG Energy Senior Vice President John Chillemi noted that over the first year of construction there have not been any worker injuries or safety violations.