The Carlsbad Desalination Plant Water Purchase Agreement: What You Need to Know

For years, California has been grappling with a water crisis. The state`s population is growing, and with it, the demand for water. In addition, climate change has brought on longer and more frequent droughts, making water even scarcer. To help meet the demand for water, California has turned to desalination, the process of removing salt from seawater to make it drinkable.

One of the largest desalination plants in the world is located in Carlsbad, California. The plant, which began operating in 2015, can produce up to 50 million gallons of drinking water per day. The water produced by the plant is sold to the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) under a long-term Water Purchase Agreement (WPA).

Under the terms of the WPA, the SDCWA agreed to purchase all of the water produced by the Carlsbad plant for 30 years. The agreement was signed in 2012 and is worth approximately $1 billion. The SDCWA is responsible for delivering the water to its member agencies throughout San Diego County.

The Carlsbad plant is a public-private partnership between Poseidon Water and the SDCWA. Poseidon Water built and operates the plant, while the SDCWA purchases the water produced by the plant. The plant was built using private financing, and the cost of the water is higher than traditional sources of water. However, the SDCWA argues that the cost is worth it because it provides a reliable source of water that is not subject to the same drought-related shortages as other sources.

The Carlsbad plant has not been without controversy, however. Environmental groups have raised concerns about the impact of the plant on marine life, including fish and other aquatic species. The plant uses intake pipes to draw seawater into the plant, which can trap and kill fish and other marine life. The SDCWA has agreed to implement measures to minimize the impact on marine life, including installing screens on the intake pipes to prevent fish from entering.

Despite the controversy, the Carlsbad Desalination Plant Water Purchase Agreement represents a significant investment in California`s water infrastructure. The agreement provides a reliable source of drinking water to San Diego County for decades to come. As California continues to grapple with a water crisis, desalination plants like the one in Carlsbad will play an increasingly important role in meeting the state`s water needs.