CARLSBAD — Construction on the $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Plant has been ongoing for more than two years.
It’s 93 percent finished, according to Peter MacLaggan, the developer Poseidon Resources’ Senior Vice President of Project Development.
The administration building is nearly complete.
There is a makeshift control room, which houses the software and the crew responsible for operating the plant.
“We now have the operational crew onboard,” MacLaggan said.
When it’s up and running, the plant will provide 50 million gallons of drinking water per day to Carlsbad and surrounding communities.
Construction of the first phase of water treatment is complete. The media filters are covered and installed.
The cartridge filters are the second phase in treating salt water. They’re currently being tested.
The reverse osmosis stage is the final step in the treatment process.
MacLaggan said that building has a roof and is fully plumbed. They’re currently pressure testing the pipes.
During the peak of construction, 500 employees were working. Now, 270 are working towards completing the plant and getting it up and running by fall.
Thus far, it’s taken more than a million man-hours to complete the plant.
The 10-mile pipeline is also almost complete, according to San Diego County Water Authroity Deputy General Manager Frank Belock.
“Pretty much all the pipeline is in,” Belock said.
The pipeline will run from the desalination plant to the San Diego County Water Authority’s aqueduct in San Marcos.
The only pipeline that still needs to be laid is in the 80-feet deep Macario Tunnel, near the intersection of Faraday Avenue and Cannon Road.
Belock expects the pipe installation to be done around the July 4th weekend.
Once the pipe is laid, crews will work to restore the paving, beginning in early July on Lionshead Avenue.
The paving will continue westward.
The medians on Cannon Road west of the Grand Pacific Resort will be finished by the end of this month, Belcok said.
Once complete, the desalination plant will provide 7 percent of the San Diego region’s water supply and will be the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere.
San Diego County imports about 90 percent of its drinking water from the Colorado River and northern California.
The San Diego Water Authority entered into a 30-year agreement with Poseidon water to purchase a maximum of 18.25 billion gallons per year of desalinated water.
The water authority provides water to 24 member agencies.
Residents will pay about $4 to $7 more for water per $75 monthly bill.
The county water authority recently introduced further watering restrictions to bring surrounding agencies into compliance with state mandated cutbacks.
The state has made it illegal to water outdoor landscapes within 48 hours of rainfall, to use potable water in fountains that don’t recirculate water and using hoses without shutoff nozzles when washing cars, among other rules.
Residents can’t legally wash their sidewalks or driveways with potable water.
Each of the 24 member cities must reduce their water-use by 12 to 36 percent compared to 2013, depending on the city.
Most have created regulations to meet their specific requirement.
If a city doesn’t meet the required cutbacks, it could faces fines from the county water authority.