Topic: Desalination



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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Southern California eyes desalinated water from Mexico

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. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Should Los Angeles County have a huge desalination plant? A battle looms in the South Bay

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. 

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Huntington Beach residents seek wider review of desalination plant

Huntington Beach residents urged a state agency to require a more comprehensive environmental impact report before the proposed Poseidon desalination plant could receive a new lease on state land.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach will test California’s environmental rules

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. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why one decision could decide future of desalination in California

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Approval of desalination project now not expected until March 2018

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am saves nearly $9 million thanks to change in pipeline route

California American Water’s Monterey Peninsula desalination project will cost nearly $9 million less due to a shift in the delivery pipeline route requested by Monterey city officials years ago.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Desalination: Why tapping seawater has slowed to a trickle in California

Once thought to be the wave of the future, turning seawater into drinking water is proving to be a tough sell in California.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Public comment period for cross-border water pipeline

As plans move forward for a massive desalination plan in Rosarito Beach, a proposed pipeline to carry some of that water to San Diego County is undergoing scrutiny by the U.S. State Department.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Deep Water Desalination proposed in Monterey Bay

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water activist group sues Coastal Commission, Monterey County over Cal Am desal test well

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.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Desalination plant again faces environmental questions

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Final Cal Am desal project return water pact submitted to CPUC

A 10-party settlement agreement aimed at resolving California American Water’s desalination project return water obligation was submitted Tuesday to the state Public Utilities Commission.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Desal test facility in the works

Water managers are taking the next steps in exploring whether to increase the amount of drinkable water produced from desalination in San Diego County by up to four times the current level.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

$90 million Doheny beach desalination plant still in works

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.

Aquafornia news Sea Change Radio

Desalination: Is it time to drink the Pacific? (audio)

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.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Orange County Water District wants desalinated water; Irvine Ranch doesn’t. Who will win?

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.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

State eases cuts to urban water use in San Diego

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.

Western Water Magazine

Tapping the Ocean: What is the Role of Desalination?
Winter 2016

This issue looks at the role of ocean desalination in meeting California’s water needs today and in the future.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Should desalination play a bigger role in California’s water future?

When it comes to finding new sources of drinking water for residents of a coastal state mired in drought, some say desalination gets little respect in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am’s new desal project cost estimates could squeeze GWR

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

$1-billion desalination plant, hailed as model for state, opens in Carlsbad

With Monday’s ceremonial opening of the Western Hemisphere’s largest ocean desalination plant, a new era began for water use in San Diego County — and possibly for the entire parched state.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union Tribune

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Finish line for desalination

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Southern California desalination plant will help ease water crunch, but price is steep

The newest weapon in the war on drought in California has arrived, an engineering marvel that will harvest drinking water from the ocean on a scale never before seen in the Western Hemisphere.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Catalina Island aims to avoid more water rationing with new desalination plant

The new desalination plant has been built through a partnership between Los Angeles County, the city of Avalon and Southern California Edison.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Amid drought, San Diego faces the opposite problem: too much water

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.

San Diego Tour 2016
Field Trip (past)

Desalination plant in Carlsbad

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.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union Tribune

Poseidon desalination plant in Carlsbad nears opening

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Questions and answers about huge US desalination plant

The largest seawater desalination plant in the Americas opens this year in Carlsbad, a suburb of 110,000 people north of San Diego.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

New plant tests appetite for seawater desalination

There’s far more riding on the Americas’ largest seawater desalination plant than the 50 million gallons of drinking water it will produce for the San Diego area each day.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Deep Water Desal environmental review consultant named; worked on major desal projects

A firm known for its work on major California desalination projects has been chosen to conduct a combined federal and state environmental review for the Deep Water Desal proposal.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Groundwater replenishment project forges ahead of desal project in PUC review

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am desal test well to resume pumping

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.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Radio for Northern California

Could Israeli ingenuity (and seawater) help California slake its thirst? (with audio)

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Joint desal project review expected to take a year

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.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Desalination plant opponents rail against Huntington Beach location

Two weeks ago, an expert panel weighed in against the economic feasibility of burying water intake pipes under the sand at a proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am, Monterey County awarded $1.8 million in attorney fees from Marina Coast Water

California American Water and Monterey County have been awarded a combined $1.8 million in attorney fees from Marina Coast Water District in the regional desalination project lawsuit.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Expert panel says subsurface pipes for Poseidon desalination plant too costly

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. 

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

East Bay city eyes desalination system to increase water supply

Saddled with mandatory water conservation measures and no relief from the drought in sight, city officials here now are considering increasing Antioch’s water supply with a desalination system.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water authority weighs in on Cal Am desal project delays

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am admits using consultant’s patented technology on desal project

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Concerns rise over environmental impact of Carlsbad desalination plant

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Santa Barbara to spend $55 million on desalination plant as drought ‘last resort’

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.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Healdsburg man uses heat to make clean 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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

CPUC judge seeks answers from Cal Am, Geoscience on potential conflict

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

CPUC delays desal project review, cites conflict

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.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California city’s desalination push sparks debate over costs, coastal impact

The slumbering desalination plant that rests off the Ventura Freeway in a seedy area called the Funk Zone might one day be the answer to this coastal city’s desperate need for water.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am must seek amended desal test well permit

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.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Baja California’s first desalination plant to open in 2017 in Ensenada

Far from the Colorado River, Baja California’s coastal regions are increasingly looking to alternative sources of supply — and desalination has become a favored option.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Who needs an ocean? San Joaquin Valley projects give new life to salty water

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Backers of desalination hope Carlsbad plant will disarm critics

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am seeks desal project contractors despite groundwater questions

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Orange County Water District eyes deal with planned desalination plant

Faced with the continuing drought, Orange County water officials are looking into the possibility of purchasing water from a proposed Huntington Beach ocean desalination plant.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

New state rule could impact how Marin would build desal plant

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

State sets environmental rules for desalinating water

California adopted new rules Wednesday to help cities and water agencies figure out the best way to siphon water from the sea and turn it into drinking water without killing fish.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula business leaders urge expert review of desal, groundwater replenishment reports

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Desalination plants aren’t a good solution for California drought

As surely as the hot, dry Santa Ana winds bring blue skies to the coast and wildfires to the hills, severe California droughts bring calls to build desalination plants up and down the seashore.

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour

Could Israel’s water technology ease drought conditions in California? (with audio & video)

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

As drought persists, desalination could be California’s last resort

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.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Desalination could provide Orange County an infinite water supply, but at a steep cost

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.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

Completion is near for $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Project

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.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

For drinking water in drought, California looks warily to sea

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.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Santa Barbara looks to ocean desalination for new water; are other cities next?

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.”

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

The drought — with a grain of salt

As drought-parched California withers, salt water captures attention – again. … In Sacramento, the State Water Resources Control Board is poised to adopt new regulations in May governing desalination.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Business group questions Carmel River cutback relaxation bid

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.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Will turning seawater into drinking water help California through drought? (with audio)

Across California, communities are examining all options to avoid running out of water. Some, like the coastal city of Santa Barbara, are looking to the past for inspiration.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Judge: Marina Coast Water District on hook for millions in failed desal project

A San Francisco judge Friday dealt a major blow to ratepayers in Marina and Fort Ord, voiding several contracts related to a failed regional desalination plant.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

Commentary: Desalination makes sense for Orange County

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Editorial: Water supply — Modified Cease and Desist Order is best option

The Monterey Peninsula has struggled for decades to find solutions to its water supply problems. After a few misfires over the years, progress is now being made.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Santa Barbara working to reactivate mothballed desalination plant

California’s four-year drought created the statewide mantra: “Conserve, conserve, conserve.” But this coastal city can soon add another word to its water-related lexicon: desalinate.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Grievances with Cal Am, Monterey County deal over failed desal plant are aired

The meandering circus that evolved from Monterey County’s failed desalination plant efforts made another stop Wednesday at a hearing before state utility regulators.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

CPUC judge sets public debate on regional project deal

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Draft proposal to delay Carmel River cutback released

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Ex-Huntington Beach mayor alleges water board member has conflict

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Marina Coast to resume pursuit of own desal plant

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.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Huntington Beach desalination plant gets a boost

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Citing drought, California town rushes water plant

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.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Bureau of Reclamation’s Desalination and Water Purification Research Program seeks proposals to improve water treatment technologies

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Australia proves desalination works

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Regional desal trial testimony concludes; Cal Am wants test well challenge moved

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Regional desal project trial to start in San Francisco

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Ocean water is answer to drought

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.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Cambria desalination plant to start operating soon

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Editorial: Marina well project should proceed

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Cal Am, Cemex reach deal on desalination test well

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Coastal Commission staff backs Cal Am test well appeal

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Could desalination solve California’s water problem?

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Desalination comes of age

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.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruzans drink up water source solutions

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.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Cities seek water independence

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.

Aquafornia news KPBS Radio News

Tapping into the ocean with San Diego’s billion dollar desalination plant

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Subsurface water intakes feasible for desalination plant, study finds

A study regarding a controversial proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach determined that subsurface intakes are technically feasible for the project.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

Commentary: Water for a parched land

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.

Western Water Magazine

Tapping the World’s Largest Reservoir: Desalination
January/February 2003

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.

Western Water Magazine

Desalination: A Drought Proof Supply?
July/August 2009

This printed issue of Western Water examines desalination – an issue that is marked by great optimism and controversy – and the expected role it might play as an alternative water supply strategy.

Western Water Magazine

Making the Connection: The Water/Energy Nexus
September/October 2010

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.

Western Water Magazine

Viewing Water with a Wide Angle Lens: A Roundtable Discussion
January/February 2013

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.


A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

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 of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley

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.


Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley (20-minute DVD)

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.


Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource

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.


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

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. 


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

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.


Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

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.


Layperson’s Guide to Water Recycling
Updated 2013

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.

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Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Salinity

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.

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Recurrent droughts and uncertainties about future water supplies have led several California communities to look to treat salty water 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 with ocean water along the coast and in the interior at spots that draw from ancient salt water deep under the surface or where groundwater has been tainted by too much salt.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Desalination: A Drought Proof Supply?
July/August 2009

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.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Tapping the World’s Largest Reservoir: Desalination
Jan/Feb 2003

“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.