SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday voted to approve a landmark agreement to purchase up to 56,000 acre-feet of water annually from what will be the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad, Calif.
The plant is expected to start producing up to 50 million gallons a day in 2016.
The board approved a 30-year Water Purchase Agreement with project developer Poseidon Resources, saying the reverse-osmosis facility will make local water supplies more reliable by reducing the region’s dependence on water from the Colorado River and the Bay-Delta that is vulnerable to droughts, natural disasters and regulatory restrictions.
“We are now putting another big piece of our diversification plan in place that will help protect our region’s $186 billion economy from the potential shortages and the uncertainty created by heavy reliance on imported water,” said Thomas V. Wornham, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “Adding desalination to our portfolio is monumental in the same way that importing water from the Colorado River was in the 1940s. We are making this investment not only for our own security but to maintain our quality of life for future generations.”