Oct 25, 2007

San Diego Desalination Partners

Public opinion research recently conducted by the San Diego Institute for Policy Research, LLC (SDI) and Competitive Edge Research and Communications, Inc. (CERC) shows that voters overwhelmingly support bringing desalination projects to San Diego.

The public opinion survey, taken during the first week of September, demonstrated that over two-thirds of San Diegans view the region’s water availability situation as very or extremely serious, and 59.3% have made efforts to conserve water in the past few months.

According to the survey, “huge support exists for desalination,” with an overwhelming 81% of San Diego’s registered voters expressing support for seawater desalination. The public opinion survey tested three approaches for dealing with water shortages: seawater desalination, mandated water conservation and wastewater recycling, and asked respondents to prioritize their preferred approach. Of the three options, seawater desalination (62%) garnered the most support.

Nine San Diego County public water agencies—Carlsbad Municipal Water District, Valley Center Municipal Water District, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Rainbow Municipal Water District, Vallecitos Water District, the Santa Fe Irrigation District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District and the City of Oceanside—have entered into, or are negotiating, long-term water purchase agreements with the operator of the Carlsbad Desalination Project, Poseidon Resources Corporation.

The Carlsbad Desalination Project will provide 50 mgd of fresh drinking water, enough for 300,000 San Diegans annually. The water will be locally controlled and drought-proof. The 30-year contracts signed by the public water agencies lock in the price of desalinated water, protect San Diego’s ratepayers from financial risk and guarantee that the benefits of the project are shared regionally. The proposed $300 million desalination project is scheduled to be completed as early as 2010.