Federal, state and local officials from the Southern California region and water stakeholders from across the western U.S., gathered at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's Haynes Generating Station, located in southeast Long Beach, Calif., yesterday as the Long Beach Water Department, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation kicked-off construction of the Long Beach Seawater Desalination Research and Development Facility the largest seawater desalination research facility in the nation.
In an exclusive public sector partnership, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and the federal government will build a 300,000 gallon-per-day prototype seawater desalination facility at the Haynes Generating Station. Work at this temporary facility will be at the forefront of worldwide seawater desalination research. Research will be focused on further development of a breakthrough membrane technology, known as the "Long Beach Method." Already, two different, and independent, analyses of the method have shown it to be 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient than more traditional desalination methods.
In addition to energy consumption, researchers will address many other technical, economic and environmental factors associated with desalinating seawater.
"Long Beach is committed to developing seawater desalination in a cost-effective, environmentally sensitive manner," stated Kevin L. Wattier, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department. "This project will provide us the information needed to move forward with a full-scale desalination facility by the end of this decade. We already have a diverse portfolio of water supplies in Long Beach, including groundwater, imported water, recycled water and an aggressive conservation program. We look forward to further diversifying that portfolio in the future with desalinated seawater."
"The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) is pleased to join with the Long Beach Water Department and the Bureau of Reclamation in this effort to explore new and innovative methods for seawater desalination," said Gerald Gewe, LADWP chief operating officer of the water system. "Seawater desalination is definitely in our future water resources plan. We believe the partnership with the Long Beach Water Department offers tremendous promise in further refining and lowering the cost of desalting seawater to supplement traditional water supplies in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective manner."
Congressional funding authority for the Long Beach Desalination Project was granted in the Reclamation, Recycling and Conservation Act of 1996. Under this funding authorization, the United States Bureau of Reclamation will pay 50 percent of the projects total cost. The Long Beach Desalination Project represents the Federal government's investment in desalination research and development. The projected cost of construction and operation of the new research and development facility is over $5.4 million.
Commissioner John Keys III, of the United States Bureau of Reclamation, expressed the Bureau's excitement about its partnership with the Long Beach Water Department and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He stated, "Improving water treatment technologies such as desalination is a key principle of the Water 2025 program unveiled by the Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton this year. Among the objectives of Water 2025 is to set forth a framework under which we can all focus on meeting future water supply challenges, and the Long Beach project clearly represents the philosophy of Water 2025."
Construction of the project will begin in December, and be completed in September 2004.