A new nationwide study has unearthed the huge hidden potential of tapping into salty aquifers as a way to relieve the growing pressure on freshwater supplies across the United States. Digging into data from the country’s 60 major aquifers, the U.S. Geological Survey reports that the amount of brackish — or slightly salty — groundwater is more than 35 times the amount of fresh groundwater used in the United States each year.
A California American Water official argued the company’s desalination project can secure key permits and approvals within six months of certification of the final project environmental review document and start construction shortly afterward, despite a series of delays involving the draft report and the prospect of seeking a critical permit from the city of Marina.
A Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary representative said the latest delay involving California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project — a 30-day extension of the public comment period on the project’s draft combined state and federal environmental review document — could push back finalization of the report by a month.
California’s historic drought may be winding down. But water officials across the Golden State are increasingly exploring a hidden but promising way to add to the state’s water supply: removing salt from the billions of gallons of brackish — or distastefully salty — water that lies deep below the Earth’s surface.
A document purportedly leaked from the Trump administration indicates that the proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach is among 50 infrastructure projects nationwide that the president has designated as a priority.
The U.S. imports vehicles, equipment, fresh produce and other goods from Mexico. That list may soon include water too, now that a San Diego County water district is looking south for help to diversify its supply.
On a a picturesque summer afternoon, West Basin Municipal Water District officials chose to woo regulators with a stroll by the beach in El Segundo, stopping to admire an unadulterated strip of California coastline. … A few hours later, environmental advocates held a town hall two miles away in Manhattan Beach.
Poseidon Water hopes to help quench Orange County’s thirst, but first the company’s proposed desalination project must slake a thirst of its own. That’s why Poseidon has long eyed a coastal power plant that has, for more than a half-century, sucked up seawater to cool its massive generators.
A protracted conflict over whether and how to protect fish from dying at desalination plants is clouding prospects for what would be California’s second large plant of this type – and for the future of desalination along the entire California coastline. For years, a proposed Poseidon Resources desalination plant in Huntington Beach in Orange County has been kept in limbo.
A new ruling issued by a state Public Utilities Commission member has indicated the full commission likely wouldn’t consider approval of California American Water’s Monterey Peninsula desalination project until March 2018, four months after company officials had hoped, and suggested that consideration could be delayed even further.
Backers of a new Monterey Bay desalination project think they have found a fix for the environmental problems posed by most seawater intakes: Instead of drawing seawater from the beach, they plan to draw from the one of the world’s deepest marine canyons.
In what local water activist Ron Weitzman promises is a precursor to further litigation, the Water Ratepayers Association of the Monterey Peninsula has filed suit against the state Coastal Commission and Monterey County seeking to halt California American Water’s slant test well program for the proposed desalination plant project.
Carlsbad’s new desalination plant went through years of regulatory review and faced 14 legal challenges from environmental groups before it opened last year. Six months after opening, it’s still facing regulatory hurdles, including one that’ll make the water it produces more expensive.
A desalination plant proposed near San Juan Creek could produce as much as 15 million gallons of drinking water daily and create a reliable source for South County-area reserves in the wake of an earthquake or drought, officials said. … On Thursday, district officials will hold a community meeting to discuss the project and its environmental report.
This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with energy reporter from The Desert Sun, Sammy Roth. He recently researched a piece about efforts to make desalination more commonplace in California.
Citing potentially higher costs that would be passed on to customers, Orange County’s largest provider of water to homes and businesses is intensifying its opposition to a key supplier’s plan to buy desalinated water from a proposed $1 billion Huntington Beach plant.
In response to the recently launched Poseidon desalination plant in Carlsbad, state officials have agreed to dramatically ease water conservation goals in San Diego for almost all residential water users. The adjustments will nearly cut in half required water savings throughout the region, the San Diego County Water Authority announced Thursday.
California American Water’s latest Monterey Peninsula water supply project cost estimates show a larger desalination plant would cost the same as previous estimates, but a smaller desal plant would be more expensive. That would potentially squeeze the cost of a supplemental recycled water project unless it qualifies for grants and low-cost financing.
Poseidon Water’s desalination plant in Carlsbad is poised to begin regular operations within days — decades after water officials first considered harvesting drinking water from the sea and 14 years after they formally took the first steps toward its construction. The opening, to be celebrated with an anticipatory ceremony Monday, will be a milestone for the company, for arid San Diego County and for all of California.
The $1-billion desalination plant coming online next month in Carlsbad will fit right in with years of careful planning and investment in water supply in San Diego County. It will also worsen a peculiar San Diego problem amid a multiyear drought: an oversupply of water.
This 2-day, 1-night tour in the San Diego County included a private tour of the new Carlsbad ocean desalination plant, the largest such facility in the Western hemisphere and designed to increase the San Diego area’s water supply reliability.
On a 15-year project, it seems silly to complain about a month’s delay. Still, for more than a year now, people have been told about a November opening of the $1 billion Poseidon desalination plant in Carlsbad.
A groundwater replenishment project aimed at providing the Monterey Peninsula with potable recycled water continued to forge ahead of California American Water’s desalination project during a state Public Utilities Commission hearing Monday.
California American Water is expected to resume pumping from its stalled Monterey Peninsula desalination project test slant well operation by early November after the Coastal Commission gave its unanimous approval Tuesday.
Along a picture-postcard stretch of coast in Carlsbad near San Diego, fishermen cast their lines into an emerald seawater lagoon. In a few short weeks, the lagoon will also be feeding a steady supply of water into what will be the largest operating desalination facility in North America.
A more thorough, joint environmental review of the oft-delayed Monterey Peninsula desalination project by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the state Public Utilities Commission will likely take about a year to draft and finalize, according to representatives of both agencies.
The fate of a proposed water desalination plant in Huntington Beach remains uncertain after a panel of experts has concluded that it would be too expensive to build it using intake pipes under the sea floor. That was the approach favored by the California Coastal Commission, whose approval is needed to begin construction.
Facing another delay on California American Water’s desalination project, the Monterey Peninsula regional water authority weighed in this week on the major reasons for the delay — the apparent Geoscience conflicts of interest and the stalled test well operation.
California American Water officials have acknowledged using patented slant well technology by Geoscience president Dennis Williams in the Monterey Peninsula desalination project after previously denying it.
A water conservation group argued in court this week that the San Diego County Water Authority needs to do more to account for the potential environmental effects of its upcoming projects, particularly the water desalination plant scheduled to open in Carlsbad.
Santa Barbara City Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved spending $55 million to reactivate a mothballed desalination plant that could provide the city with nearly a third of its drinking water.
Healdsburg’s Aaron Mandell wants to build a $30 million desalination plant in the San Joaquin Valley that would use the warmth of the sun to distill former irrigation water and reuse it on thirsty farms. … “I think everybody is trying to stretch the supplies every way they can,” said Jennifer Bowles, executive director of the nonprofit Water Education Foundation in Sacramento.
State Public Utilities Commission judge Gary Weatherford has ordered California American Water and contractor Geoscience Support Services president Dennis Williams to disclose details of their agreements involving the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.
In order to sort out an apparent conflict of interest and its fallout, the state Public Utilities Commission on Thursday extended the public review period for California American Water’s latest desalination project’s draft environmental impact report by nearly three months.
California American Water and a group of experts will be asked to prove regional agricultural irrigation pumping caused most, if not all, of the decrease in north Marina groundwater levels that halted pumping of the Monterey Peninsula desalination project’s test slant well last month.
A glistening spectacle on the west Fresno County prairie could be a rock star in California’s next drought. It’s a mirrored solar array longer than a football field, collecting heat to boil salt and other impurities out of irrigation drainage. … The technology is among Valley water stories that The Bee will tell this month in a weekly series.
For the expected 1,500-plus people attending the International Desalination Assn. World Congress, the highlight will be a Sept. 4 tour of the $1-billion desalination plant under construction in Carlsbad.
As environmental review for its Monterey Peninsula desalination project approaches a critical stage, California American Water is already moving ahead with hiring contractors for key aspects of the project.
With drought impacts in full effect, some water agencies are looking at desalination as way to improve water supplies. Now the state Water Resources Control Board has passed an amendment to its codes requiring new or expanded seawater desalination plants to use the best available technology to protect all forms of marine life.
For the second time in less than a month, Monterey Peninsula business leaders are seeking a legal and technical analysis of California American Water’s desalination project in an effort to sniff out any issues that could potentially further delay or derail the proposal.
Could the technology used in Israel that successfully turned the country’s water shortage into a surplus be implemented in California to ease the state’s drought? KQED Public Media reporter Daniel Potter joins Alison Stewart via Skype from San Francisco to discuss.
For nearly 25 years, the desal plant has sat unused. That’s about to change. As nearby beachgoers swam, sailed and paddle boarded on an overcast morning last week, Santa Barbara officials showed off those tanks and pumps, describing their plan to turn seawater into drinking water.
Desalination promises a world with no limits. … That promise is driving the $1 billion desalination plant that Poseidon Water is set to open in Carlsbad this November. And it has brought Poseidon within one permit of building a plant in Huntington Beach.
As an unprecedented drought tightens its grip on California, completion is near for the $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Project that is expected to supply 7 to 10 percent of San Diego County’s drinking water by the end of this year.
Every time drought strikes California, the people of this state cannot help noticing the substantial reservoir of untapped water lapping at their shores — 187 quintillion gallons of it, more or less, shimmering so invitingly in the sun.
A mothballed desalination plant sits like a time capsule near Santa Barbara’s main tourist beach, a relic of California’s last drought to end all droughts. … The dilemma is the focus of the latest installment of this newspaper’s ongoing series “A State of Drought.”
California American Water submitted a draft petition to the state water board last month aimed at delaying the deadline for reducing its river water pumping by four years from the end of 2016 to 2020. It promised to meet a series of milestones including completion of a desalination plant capable of providing a replacement water source for the Peninsula by the new deadline.
Anyone who has stepped outside in the past year has undoubtedly seen the effects of our state’s historic drought conditions. … Southern California communities have rallied behind desalinated ocean water as a reliable, safe and environmentally friendly solution to long-term water shortages.
A state Public Utilities Commission judge will allow public debate over the proposed regional desalination project settlement agreement between California American Water and Monterey County later this month, delaying the commission’s scheduled review on Thursday.
After resisting disclosure, Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority president Jason Burnett released a draft proposal late Tuesday aimed at delaying a state-ordered cutback in pumping from the Carmel River by four years.
Former Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook has filed a complaint with the state’s political watchdog, alleging that a water district board member has a conflict of interest and should not be allowed to vote on a proposed desalination plant on the city’s oceanfront.
A split Marina Coast Water District board decided to resume its previous quest for a desalination plant, with a goal of providing a new potable water supply within two years to new development in Fort Ord, including Monterey Downs.
The Orange County Water District, which manages the groundwater basin in north and central county, gave a much-needed boost this week to a proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach by agreeing to purchase its water.
California’s drought declaration has triggered only local limits such as restrictions on washing cars or watering lawns for most communities, but one Pacific Coast tourist town has seized it as an opportunity to build a long-desired desalination plant.
The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking proposals within two funding opportunity announcements to improve water treatment technologies aimed at increasing water management flexibility through new usable water supplies in the United States. The first is for research, laboratory studies and the second is for pilot projects. Reclamation will make a total of up to $1.4 million available for the funding opportunities.
This week, water leaders from Australia are meeting our Californian counterparts in West Sacramento to discuss the lessons from our long drought. … We applied a number of techniques including conservation, water trading, stormwater collection and on-site gray water reuse, but one of our more tangible successes has been a $10 billion seawater desalination program with the construction of six major plants in all five mainland state capitals.
Testimony concluded on Friday in the regional desalination project trial in San Francisco Superior Court, with a preliminary ruling not expected until February. … In a separate suit, Cal Am is seeking to relocate a Sacramento County Superior Court challenge filed by Marina Coast seeking to halt the company’s slant test well project for its current desal proposal, asking a judge to move the case to Monterey County.
Opening arguments in the case pitting three former regional partners — the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, California American Water and the Marina Coast Water District — are set for Tuesday before Judge Curtis Karnow in San Francisco Superior Court.
At the State Building and Construction Trades Council, we agree with the San Diego County Water Authority – the Carlsbad desalination plant can’t come online fast enough. There is no denying that California is in desperate need of a reliable, drought-proof water supply.
Officials with the Cambria Community Services District plan to flip the switch Nov. 15 on a $9 million desalination plant that will provide the community with a desperately needed new supply of drinking water.
The Coastal Commission will consider California American Water’s proposed slant test well project at its meeting Wednesday, and it’s hard to imagine that the commission will go against its own staff recommendation, which is to allow Cal Am to proceed.
California American Water has reached a deal with Cemex to allow drilling of slant test wells, and possibly production wells, for its proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project at the north Marina sand mining plant.
Coastal Commission staff has recommended upholding California American Water’s appeal of its desalination slant test well project with conditions, arguing Marina city officials failed to provide any support for denying the project permit.
Along this patch of the Pacific Ocean, welders and pipefitters nearly outnumber the surfers and sunbathers. … They are building the Carlsbad Desalination Project, which will convert as much as 56 million gallons of seawater each day into drinking water for San Diego County residents.
Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink. That line is all that remains in my brain from an early exposure to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the endless poem that has been cruelly inflicted upon generations of American schoolchildren.
Even ideas are being conserved as Santa Cruz continues its hunt for alternative water supply solutions. … The so-called ideas convention was hosted by the city’s 14-member Water Supply Advisory Committee.
California’s drought has created mandated water conservation efforts, but some communities in Southern California, from Huntington Beach to Los Angeles, are doing something extra: trying to become water independent.
San Diego’s water supplies could be seriously tested if a punishing four-year drought extends through another winter. But there is relief on the horizon. It’s not coming from rain clouds; relief is coming from the West Coast’s first seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad.
We talked the other day about the most exciting project now going on in California, public or private. That would be Poseiden Water’s Carlsbad desalination plant north of San Diego, scheduled to begin operating next year.
This issue examines desalination and the role it could play in the future of water supply. In addition to an explanation of the basics of the technology, the article looks at costs, environmental impacts and groundwater application. Pilot desalination projects are featured, including a much-touted Carlsbad, Calif., facility that promises to substantially boost that region’s water supply.
This printed issue of Western Water looks at the energy requirements associated with water use and the means by which state and local agencies are working to increase their knowledge and improve the management of both resources.
This printed issue of Western Water features a roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.
Salt. In a small amount, it’s a gift from nature. But any doctor will tell you, if you take in too much salt, you’ll start to have health problems. The same negative effect is happening to land in the Central Valley. The problem scientists call “salinity” poses a growing threat to our food supply, our drinking water quality and our way of life. The problem of salt buildup and potential – but costly – solutions are highlighted in this 2008 public television documentary narrated by comedian Paul Rodriguez.
A 20-minute version of the 2008 public television documentary Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the problem of salt build up in the Central Valley potential – but costly – solutions. Narrated by comedian Paul Rodriquez.
20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater, and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource through various activities.
Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick.
A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.
As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge and industrial uses.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta always has been at the mercy of river flows and brackish tides.
Before human intervention, salty ocean water from the San Francisco Bay flooded the vast Delta marshes during dry summers when mountain runoff ebbed. Then, during winter, heavy runoff from the mountains repelled sea water intrusion.
Recurrent droughts and uncertainties about future water supplies have led several California communities to look to saltwater for supplemental supplies through a process known as desalination.
Desalination removes salt and other dissolved minerals from water and is one method to reclaim water for other uses. This can occur along the coast and in the interior at spots that draw from ancient salt water deep under the surface.
It seems not a matter of if but when seawater desalination will fulfill the promise of providing parts of California with a reliable, drought-proof source of water. With a continuing drought and uncertain water deliveries, the state is in the grip of a full-on water crisis, and there are many people who see desalination as a way to provide some relief to areas struggling to maintain an adequate water supply.
“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
For time immemorial, the seas of the Earth have been seen as an enticing but unreachable source of fresh water. Separating the salt from ocean water was always a cost prohibitive process, primarily reserved to wealthy Middle Eastern nations and small-scale operations such as ocean-bound vessels and small islands. Otherwise, through the evolution of modern civilization, man has depended upon lakes, rivers and groundwater – a supply that comprises less than 3 percent of the planet’s total water.