GrokSurf's San Diego

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Archive for the ‘Desalination’ Category

Carlsbad desalination plant tour (photos)

Posted by George J Janczyn on February 23, 2016

Here are photos I took today during a guided tour of the recently opened Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant. The tour was conducted by Jessica Jones, Community Outreach Manger for Poseidon Water. Additional tours will be held in the future, although many of them are already booked. See Poseidon’s website for tour information (http://carlsbaddesal.com/visit).

Photos can be clicked for an enlarged version, which may be needed to read the posterboard descriptions. The last photo shows everyone receiving a glass of newly desalinated water.

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Posted in Carlsbad Desalination Project, Desalination, Poseidon Desalination Plant (Carlsbad), San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) | 3 Comments »

Zetland: Will San Diego make the desalination mistake?

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 23, 2012

[by David Zetland, senior water economist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and publisher of the Aguanomics blog. Reprinted with permission.]

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Poseidon Resources has been lobbying to build a desalination plant in Carlsbad (San Diego County), California for around a decade, and I’ve been skeptical of that proposal (earlier posts) — mostly because water consumption in San Diego is still quite high (ranging from 100-300 gallons/capita/day; compare that number to Sydney or Melbourne at 50 gcd!).

It makes more economical and environmental sense, in other words, for San Diego to reduce its demand before going for more supply (this year-old analysis of their supply alternatives [pdf] lists desalination at $1,600/af but that cost is now up to $2,000+/af).

But San Diego politicians are not thinking in terms of environmental or economic sustainability. They are at war with the Metropolitan Water District over imported water and in alliance with property developers who want more supply to build more subdivisions. (It’s ironic, in fact, that SD leaders worry about the burden of paying too much for more water imported from Met via the Delta [pdf] when they are prepared to throw caution to the wind for a local “solution.”)

Those are just some preliminary comments and opinions based on my observations over the past 7-8 years, but there are some new developments that make these comments even more relevant.

First, the San Diego Country Water Authority is thinking of signing a 30-year water purchase agreement to buy water from Poseidon, an agreement that will make it possible for Poseidon to borrow money from the State of California (!) for constructing the plant.

Second, that agreement does not specify how much equity (“skin in the game”) Poseidon will bring to the table in financing the $900 million project, but it DOES specify how much money Poseidon will receive for “overseeing” a project that it will neither design, nor construct, nor operate.

Third, it appears that SDCWA will pay about $3.2 billion over 30 years for water that will be twice as expensive as its existing water supplies from Met. Given the industry-norm of charging average cost for water, that means that SDCWA will be selling water it buys for $2,000 per af for about $1,200 per af. Try swinging that business model past Wall Street. (The Independent Rate Oversight Committee sure doesn’t like it! [pdf])

Fourth, you should read my 6-page analysis of the water purchase agreement (all 550 pages of what-the-hell-are-these-lawyers-saying!?!). The Surfrider Foundation paid me to prepare it, but — as usual — I acted as a consultant with a conscience: I put my original opinions in that report, since I am paid for honesty and accuracy, not groupthink. But read it for yourself.

Bottom Line: San Diego should not build a desalination plant because it would be an expensive non-solution to water reliability problems that are actually caused by poor management of regional water at Metropolitan and a failure to restrict demand to sustainable levels.

 

Posted in Desalination, Water | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

San Diego water rates and charges after completion of the Carlsbad desalination plant

Posted by George J Janczyn on July 16, 2012

The San Diego County Water Authority held a special board meeting July 12, 2012 to hear a discussion about a possible framework to guide how San Diego County water agencies could be charged for water when the Poseidon Carlsbad Desalination Project is complete.

One question for the City of San Diego (which buys only untreated water and will not receive desalinated water) is how much it will nevertheless be required to contribute to the project’s expense.

Listen in and watch here.

Audio part 1

Audio part 2

 

(view as PDF)

Twitter:

 

To be continued at the next SDCWA board meeting scheduled for July 26.

 

Posted in Desalination, Poseidon Desalination Plant (Carlsbad), Water, Water rates | 1 Comment »