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Fri Sep 28, 2012, 11:51 AM

Deal reached for massive Calif. desalination plant

Source: Associated Press

The San Diego region hit another milestone in its long quest for water independence, reaching a tentative agreement to buy the entire output of what will be the Western Hemisphere's largest seawater desalination plant.

The plant in Carlsbad will produce 50 million gallons a day, enough to supply about 7 percent of the San Diego region in 2020.

The agreement announced Thursday is subject to approval by the San Diego County Water Authority board, but it marks the clearing of a major hurdle for construction to begin. Upon the board's approval, the developer Poseidon Resources LLC would sell bonds to finance 82 percent of the project, which is estimated to cost about $900 million and begin operations in 2016.

The San Diego County Water Authority would pay $2,042 to $2,290 for an acre-foot of water, more than twice what it pays to buy water from outside the region. For supporters, the premium is well worth the price to make the region less dependent on water imported from the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplied almost all its water in the early 1990s and still provides nearly half.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49206952/ns/us_news/

42 replies, 5839 views

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Reply Deal reached for massive Calif. desalination plant (Original post)
bananas Sep 2012 OP
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #1
grantcart Sep 2012 #9
cojoel Sep 2012 #15
bananas Sep 2012 #34
grantcart Sep 2012 #36
bananas Sep 2012 #37
bananas Sep 2012 #38
cbayer Sep 2012 #2
MindPilot Sep 2012 #5
cbayer Sep 2012 #10
mitchtv Sep 2012 #14
cbayer Sep 2012 #16
mitchtv Sep 2012 #35
dixiegrrrrl Sep 2012 #17
cbayer Sep 2012 #18
dixiegrrrrl Sep 2012 #19
cbayer Sep 2012 #27
JDPriestly Sep 2012 #31
MindPilot Sep 2012 #21
cbayer Sep 2012 #24
MindPilot Sep 2012 #28
cbayer Sep 2012 #29
jsr Sep 2012 #3
dipsydoodle Sep 2012 #6
JDPriestly Sep 2012 #32
slackmaster Sep 2012 #4
BlueStreak Sep 2012 #7
jeff47 Sep 2012 #11
BlueStreak Sep 2012 #23
XemaSab Sep 2012 #12
BlueStreak Sep 2012 #26
slackmaster Sep 2012 #13
BlueStreak Sep 2012 #22
AndyTiedye Sep 2012 #25
JDPriestly Sep 2012 #33
Kablooie Sep 2012 #8
Scairp Sep 2012 #20
cbayer Sep 2012 #30
lovuian Sep 2012 #39
hunter Sep 2012 #40
Sirveri Sep 2012 #41
hunter Sep 2012 #42

Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 11:56 AM

1. Good thinking

 

they won't be able to import water forever. At some point that spigot is going to dry up and without a back up . . . well it'll get ugly.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:30 PM

9. As a 15 year resident of Carlsbad I would like to say its all good but there

are still some serious environmental questions.

More to the point San Diego County has done almost nothing to reduce its consumption of water like other desert communities short on water have. For example every SC home is expected to have large front and back lawns, a complete misuse of water that essentially comes from somewhere else.

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Response to grantcart (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 01:35 PM

15. I had an HOA home in Carlsbad in the mid 1990s

It was of of Alicante. It was a new HOA. I got involved in the "rules committee" and my then-wife on the "landscape committee". My goal was to make sure that rule enforcement was "minimal". Her goal was to allow alternate options for landscaping. We hired a local Tree Nursery to design a xeriscape landscape that was rich in native plants (rather than rocks) that and had seasonally changing but usually vibrant color blends, so that nobody in their sane mind could say it was boring, dull, or ugly. She got it through the landscape approval, though the architecture committee claimed jurisdiction and sent it to the architecture consultant for review. He came by the house so view the property and we happened to be home and he asked us a lot of questions about our goals. It turned out he just started hobbying in xeriscape landscapes himself and was fascinated to learn. He of course approved the design, to the dismay of the architecture committee and we installed it in 1994. The neighborhood had a "yard of the month" award which we never won. In the summer of 1997 several of my neighbors who had 1/8 acre "view lots" were complaining of their $150+ water bills, and were surprised when the water bill for my 1/3 acre inside lot (most of it was steep slope landscaped with low-water iceplant and evergreen trees by the developer) was around $70.

I hadn't been to Carlsbad for a long time but in March of this year I traveled to Carlsbad to go the the amusement place there. We went to the old (for me) neighborhood and I was very pleased to see that the entire xeriscape was still in place, and had matured and was well tended by the current owner. I also got to see the annual living Christmas trees that I planted each year on the slope after the holidays, which had grown quite big.

Where is the plant supposed to go?

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Response to cojoel (Reply #15)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 04:26 PM

34. The desal plant will go next to the Encina Power Station. nt

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Response to bananas (Reply #34)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 07:19 PM

36. Isn't it that the preliminary plant will go there and if it proves successful then

the EPS will be moved and it will take over the area?

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Response to grantcart (Reply #36)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 09:53 PM

37. Don't know, I haven't been following it. nt

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Response to grantcart (Reply #36)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 09:57 PM

38. Surfrider is against the desal plant.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:00 PM

2. This is good news, but they have got to do something to bring that price down.

They installed one on Catalina Island, but don't use it because of the prohibitive fuel costs.

One question is why the water California is draining out of the Colorado is so cheap? It should be vastly more expensive and some kinds of incentives offered to customers to conserve (or decentives for overuse). The way many, if not most SoCal resident abuse water is shameful - pools, lawns, golf courses, etc. My anxiety level goes up just being in someone's home sometimes and seeing them let the tap flow or run a dishwasher with a couple of things in it.

We use about 3 gallons a day.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:13 PM

5. The problem now is if we all use less

they simply charge us more.

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:37 PM

10. How can that be? It is simply illogical.

They ought to charge less for using less and increase the price as one increases consumption.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 01:27 PM

14. conservation brings in lower revenues

an Old SF trick "conserve, conserve, oops , you conserved too much, now we don't have enough revenue to run the dept, so we will have to raise rates. Thanks for doing such a good job!"

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Response to mitchtv (Reply #14)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 01:36 PM

16. Ridiculous, no?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #16)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 04:55 PM

35. hair pulling ridiculous

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Response to cbayer (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 01:43 PM

17. Not illogical if you think of water as a "product"

Example:
Here in our teeny town, one of the factories closed down ( moved overseas).
It had used x number of gallons of water per month, thus the water company had made x number of $$$
from it every month.
when it closed down, the "earnings" on the water company's books were greatly reduced.
So, they raised our water rates 2.00 a month to compensate for the loss.
The kicker?
I called to complain about the townspeople having to subsidize the now closed factory's water bill.
And was told that I was the only person to have complained.
Which is entirely believable, given that I know most of the people at the Water company
( like I said, a small small town)

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #17)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 01:52 PM

18. Which makes me think that we need to think of it as something other than

a product.

I don't know how to accomplish this as long as somebody's books are reliant on how much they sell, but the whole concept of having to sell more of it or charge more just makes no sense to me at all.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #18)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:08 PM

19. Well, if one thinks of water and air as a "right" ....

clearly in our corporate state, anything that people need can and should be treated as profit making products.

And speaking of profit, those bonds that San diego County want to sell...some bank ( probably citibank) will be making a nice fat profit for issuing those bonds.
and if the plant does not do well, it will be the taxpayers who will have to bail out the bondholders.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #19)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:31 PM

27. Still worth going for it, imo.

We have so much seawater. We must find a way to turn some of it into potable water or, at the very least, start converting some systems (like sewerage) into salt water based systems.

Like all new technologies, it is going to be expensive and have some problems at first, but if it can be done, we should do it.

When I first bought my Prius (second year of production), Toyota claimed they were taking a $50,000 loss per vehicle. That was most likely true, but it sure paid off for them in the end.

I don't have a problem with people making profit off of developing something that is good in the long run, particularly if they are taking a risk to do so. The bondholders, whether they be banks or private citizens, will assume the risk.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #19)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 04:08 PM

31. Here is Southern California, we spend very little to heat our houses and buildings, so

it's OK if we spend a little more to get water. It's a trade-off.

In L.A. we have water rationing. I'm trying to convert my yard to drought-resistant plants. As a native to the Midwest, it makes me feel kind of sad, but we have to do this.

In other parts of the country, people spend small fortunes to heat their houses. We don't.

I agree however that we should simply directly tax ourselves rather than float bonds. It would be cheaper in the long run.

We are developing solar energy, and I support that effort too. It makes sense out here where rain and cloudy days are a rarity.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:16 PM

21. It is crazy but they do that with the electrical rates

Here in San Diego, the electrical rate tiers are lower closer to the coast. Reasoning is that the climate is milder nearer the coast, so someone living at the beach will naturally use less energy than someone inland. Therefore, I start paying a higher rate at a lower usage level than someone who lives five miles east of me. Add that to the fact that the baseline level is so low I don't think it is actually possible to come in under it.

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #21)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:27 PM

24. But that makes more sense.

Charging less to those that use less provides good incentive to use less. Granted, circumstances may afford some people the opportunity to use less naturally, but it also give incentives to those forced to use more to lower their consumption. I can see a logic in that.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #24)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 03:06 PM

28. But they don't, that is the problem.

I am in the "use less naturally" category. So I pay more for less.

Say my baseline is 125kwh per month at .08 per kwh. After that it steps up so the next tier is maybe 250kwh, I will pay .12 per kwh.

My neighbor a couple miles to the east gets to use 200kwh before she has to pay the higher rate.

Bottom line, the power company has manipulated the various rates to insure that at the lower levels--where conservation really happens--we all contribute about the same dollar amount regardless of consumption.

So the pricing system actually disincentivizes conservation.


ETA: those numbers are for example only; they are not actually from my bill.

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #28)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 03:15 PM

29. Then I misunderstood the other post.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:02 PM

3. So their water producer is going to be privately owned

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Response to jsr (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:17 PM

6. That so in the entire UK.

.

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Response to jsr (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 04:18 PM

32. Unless the law has been changed, all water in the State of California belongs to the State of

California.

102. All water within the State is the property of the people of
the State, but the right to the use of water may be acquired by
appropriation in the manner provided by law.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displayShttp://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=wat&group=00001-01000&file=100-112

So the State of California has to approve the appropriation and the production of the water.

https://cwc.ca.gov/Pages/Home.aspx

The water will have to pass inspection, and be used with the permission of the state I assume.

I think this is a good idea.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:05 PM

4. I think it's inevitable that desalination will become a major source of fresh water in SoCal...

 

...and because that will result in higher energy costs, I'm even more pleased with my decision to go solar last year.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #4)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:18 PM

7. It doesn't have to be this way

There is plenty of room in Arizona for solar arrays that could supply the power for the coastal desalination plants. You would think that would make a natural partnership.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:39 PM

11. Don't have to go all the way to AZ

There's plenty of room in the Mojave Desert areas of Southern California.

Southern CA is only crowded near the coast. It's really empty on the eastern side of the state.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #11)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:22 PM

23. Good point. I was just thinking that AZ will have a great need for water.

But it might make more sense for them to partner with Mexico and get water from the Gulf of California.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:39 PM

12. You have a specific spot in Arizona in mind?

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #12)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:30 PM

26. Plenty of space southwest of Phoenix

The nice thing about coupling desalination with solar energy is that you don't have to run the plants 100% all the time. And likewise if you are pumping the fresh water to a population area like Phoenix, you don't have to run the pumps full time. You can run them when the sun is out and then store the water near where it will be consumed.

You can even use that as an energy store as well. In other words, you can pump the fresh water to a storage area that we well uphill from where it will be consumed. Then as you deliver it, you can generate electricity. You can pump it uphill during the bright sunlight and then generate electricity as the water is consumed overnight.

Remember that Hoover Dam was not "cost effective" in its day. Big things take a vision and investment.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 01:27 PM

13. Solar arrays are not yet an inexpensive way of producing power even on a commercial scale

 

It will get there as the cost of producing arrays comes down, and as the cost of fossil fuel-based power rises.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #13)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:20 PM

22. It is mostly capital cost. The ongoing costs are pretty competitive.

Remember much of our current power infrastructure was put in place as public works projects after the Depression and after WWII. It wasn't "cost competitive" in its day either. Start-up of a new technology has some costs.

We have choices to make as a society. We can spend another trillion dollars invading a few more countries or we can spend much less than that and move significantly ahead on two important technologies for the future: desalination and solar energy.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:30 PM

25. Solar on the Roofs of Practically Everything

Put the solar up where it's crowded already. Put it on the roofs of practically everything.
Everyone wants a parking space in the shade, put solar panels up over parking lots.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 04:20 PM

33. There is plenty of need for Arizona's and California's solar energy in states to the North.

We use their water. They can use our energy. Sounds like a good trade to me.

We have to build a grid and find the means to store the solar energy. But we use most of our energy during the day anyway. Shouldn't' be that great a problem.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:18 PM

8. Finally! this is something S Cal has needed for decades.

There have been battles over water with N Cal and other states forever.
We need more desalination plants to free up California's water for areas that aren't next to the ocean.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 02:12 PM

20. Yeah!

I don't know why it's taken so long for these plants to get going filtering seawater to produce fresh water. The technology has been around for so long it makes no sense.

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Response to Scairp (Reply #20)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 03:25 PM

30. The fuel costs have been prohibitive and no one has wanted to take the risk.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 04:50 PM

39. All states having acess to water from the ocean would be smart to do this

it makes sense

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 06:07 PM

40. This is a stupid idea.

Enjoy low natural gas prices while you can.

When it falls apart you won't be able to afford water, natural gas, or electricity, and it's because of projects like this that this failure will happen not gradually, but catastrophically.

The current natural gas industry is a bubble of corruption. Too many people are making huge amounts of money selling wells and properties that won't last. What's going on now is the equivalent of "flipping" real estate. We are screwed.

Reasonable people when faced with water shortages might limit lawns, golf courses, and other decorative outdoor irrigation. But we are not reasonable creatures, most especially the wealthier among us who don't give a damn about the people who have little or nothing.

I think we'll be seeing some Depression era sorts of population migrations as the climate becomes less hospitable. The failures of projects like this will only make our problems worse. It's a house of cards.

Ah, but maybe there will still be water in Oregon... Hope you folks in San Diego don't have to walk.



1936: A part-time fruit worker in his squatter's shack under the Ross Island Bridge. Portland, Oregon.

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/fsahtml/fahome.html


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Response to hunter (Reply #40)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 06:45 PM

41. I wasn't aware that the only possible source of power was nat gas.

That's fascinating. God forbid we divert less water from the Colorado.

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Response to Sirveri (Reply #41)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 06:56 PM

42. Lot's of things are "possible."

But this thing will be fueled by natural gas.

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