The Public Speaks Up About Carlsbad's Proposed Desalination Plant [Video]

The San Diego County Water Authority hosted a public forum on the seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad last Wednesday.

More than 100 people attended a public meeting last Wednesday night at the city of Carlsbad's Faraday center, to find out more about the proposed seawater desalination plant, set to be built in Carlsbad.

Up for discussion is the proposed Water Purchase Agreement between the San Diego County Water Authority and Poseidon Resources.  Poseidon is the company that will build the desalination plant, and then sell the clean water back to the county.

The agreement, according to a news release by the San Diego County Water Authority, is basically a simple agreement for "the purchase of between 48,000 acre-feet and 56,000 acre-feet of desalinated water per year, for 30 years."

Citizens who attended the meeting were able to voice their opinions as to whether or not they agree with the plan, and many gave their encouragment to the board members in attendance, to approve of the water purchase agreement.

The board will vote within in the next 60 days, to approve or not approve this proposal. When finished, Carlsbad's plant would be the largest desalination plant in North America.

Tapple October 15, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Livia Borak October 15, 2012 at 05:05 PM
If you'd like more info on why this is not the right choice for San Diego right now, you can get the other side of the story here: http://cerf.org/poseidon-water-purchase-agreement-private-profit-public-risk/ since this story is decidedly one-sided. Also, the almost 1 billion dollar cost of the project IS going to be passed onto rate payers. The cost of service study won't be complete until next year, so it's unclear just how it'll effect individual water districts, but what is certain is the total project cost plus 15-17 percent profit will be passed on to ratepayers.
Judy Chauncey October 15, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Livia: I appreciate your comments and your enthusiasm about this story. Yet, I beg to differ with you, when you say my story is one-sided. The story is complicated, and to boil down a two-hour meeting into a two-minute video story is difficult. All I had time to do, was describe what happened at the meeting, and show the two sides/opinions of the citizens who spoke at the meeting. Unfortunately in a meeting like this, it is not possible to interview all of the people, with their varied opinions. I didn't even know who they were by name, until 2-hours into the meeting. In a company fact sheet, (press release) the San Diego Water Authority explains that most of the risk (the money) to build this project is being taken on by Poseidon. And if they would fail to deliver high-quality water, the water authority can refuse to buy it. My interview with Ken Weinberg stands on it's own, because he represents the voice of the San Diego County Water Authority. He said $5 to $7 dollars increase per family. The water authority now has to take their vote on whether or not they will approve of the Water Purchase agreement. The story will certainly continue on after that vote.
Rick Whitters October 15, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Watch out, Livia will sue you!
Roberto October 15, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Livia sounds like a hot mama, but has too many facts for me to take in.
Dee October 15, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I agree. The story written is very one-sided. There are other ways of reducing our water use, without disturbing our oceans any further. Look at what LA and OC are doing. They've implemented ways of saving water, but we can't even get them passed. I have always enjoyed reviewing stories from the Carlsbad Patch, however, this is not objective reporting. Learn the rest of the facts.
MILT DARDIS October 16, 2012 at 12:29 AM
When it comes to the future of desalinated water in California, San Diego County is facing a reality check. In agreements signed years ago, nine local water agencies brokered sweetheart deals with Poseidon Resources that has been planning to build and operate a desalination plant in Carlsbad for the past 12 years. The agreements guaranteed those nine agencies would not pay the true cost of desalinated ocean water – the most costly form of tap water on the planet – until the costs of imported water was even greater. And at that time, they would split the difference for up to 30 years once the plant was up and running. But those contracts, as they appeared, were too good to be true. They were so good, in fact, for the water agencies that it made the project financially unfeasible, resulting in a near junk bond rating last year as Poseidon prepared to float $530 million in tax-exempt private activity bonds. So the bond sales were put on hold and the contracts were renegotiated with Poseidon asking the San Diego County Water Authority for an additional subsidy and possibly to buy the nearly $700 million plant if there are future problems. (Poseidon had trouble with their desalination plant in Tampa Bay, Florida and the Tampa Bay Water Authority had to take over that project.)
marco gonzalez October 16, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Well, here is an undisputed fact: The County Water Authority cannot credibly estimate the fiscal impact to ratepayers countywide until it knows how many agencies are going to purchase the water directly. That won't be known until the end of November. Then, the agency will do a rate study to see how much burden falls on each different district. That study is expected to be done in May of 2013. Without that information, a vote on the water purchase agreement is entirely premature.


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