San Diego Business Journal

Water Authority to Discuss Desalination Project

Friday, September 28, 2012

The San Diego County Water Authority is scheduling two public meetings to review a proposed water purchase agreement with Poseidon Resources, the Stamford, Conn.-based private developer of the planned seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad.

The agreement specifies the proposed commercial and financial terms for the production and delivery of water from the planned desalination plant to the water authority’s regional water delivery and treatment system. The proposed agreement also includes terms for the potential purchase of the plant by the water authority.

The water authority’s board of directors has not approved the agreement and will set a date for voting on the proposal after it has had the opportunity to receive public comment and to review and deliberate the proposed agreement’s terms.

The full proposed water purchase agreement and appendices are available at www.sdcwa.org/issue-desal.

The water authority’s two public meetings to hear comments on the proposed agreement are set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the water authority’s headquarters, 4677 Overland Ave., in Kearny Mesa; and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the City of Carlsbad’s Faraday Center, 1635 Faraday Ave., in Carlsbad.

Agendas for those meetings will be posted 72 hours in advance at www.sdcwa.org/meetings-and-documents.

“If this agreement is approved, the Carlsbad desalination project would meet our region’s long-term water supply reliability goal of having 7 percent of our region’s water supply needs met through seawater desalination by 2020,” said water authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton.

The desalination project as proposed would provide up to 56,000 acre-feet of desalinated seawater annually for the region starting as early as 2016. In 2020, the project would account for approximately 7 percent of the total projected regional supply and about one-third of all locally generated water in San Diego County, according to the water authority.

The cost to supply the water as outlined in the draft agreement is estimated at $2,042 to $2,290 per acre-foot in 2012 dollars, depending on how much water is purchased annually. An acre-foot is approximately 325,900 gallons, or enough to supply two typical single-family households of four for a year.

Under the proposed agreement, the water authority will not have responsibility or liability for the design, permitting, financing, construction and operation of the desalination project. The water authority would purchase at least 48,000 acre-feet of desalinated water annually at a predetermined price for 30 years once commercial operations begin. Water in excess of 48,000 acre-feet annually would be purchased at the water authority’s discretion at a lower rate. The term can be extended up to three years due to unexpected or uncontrolled events.

At the end of the term, the water authority will have the option, but not an obligation, to purchase the plant for $1. The water authority also has the option to buy the plant after 10 years.