Desalination, like other major industrial processes, has environmental impacts that must be understood and mitigated, particularly the effects on the marine environment associated with the construction and long-term operation of seawater desalination plants, including withdrawing water from the ocean and discharging the highly concentrated brine. Still, with California mired in a multi-year drought, the creation of desalination facilities continues.
The Carlsbad Desalination Project consists of a 50 million gallon per day (56,000 acre-feet per year (AFY)) seawater desalination plant and the associated 10-mile water delivery pipeline. The project is located at the Encina Power Station in the City of Carlsbad. Desalination has evolved into a desirable water supply alternative by tapping the largest reservoir in the world – the Pacific Ocean. The technology, available for decades, is at work in many arid areas of the world including the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. A 30-year Water Purchase Agreement is in place between the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and Poseidon for the entire output of the plant. Construction on the plant and pipeline is under way and the Project will be delivering water to the businesses and resident in San Diego County by late 2015.