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Two Agencies Want to Secede From the San Diego County Water Authority

Water rates in San Diego are some of the highest in the country. So, two rural San Diego water agencies just came up with a novel way to save money: Buy water from Riverside County instead.

Leaders of two water agencies that serve about 50,000 people in and around Fallbrook are fed up with rising costs at the San Diego County Water Authority.

Local water agencies from across the region formed the Water Authority in 1944 to import water into the county from rivers hundreds of miles away. But, just in time for the Water Authority’s 75th anniversary, its future as the region’s main water supplier is in question.

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Carlsbad desalination plant will be sold to investment firm for $1 billion – California

An affiliate of Aberdeen Standard Investments has agreed to buy the Carlsbad desalination plant in Southern California for more than $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

A transaction could be announced as soon as this week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, named for a former mayor, is owned by Orion Water Partners LLC, the joint venture between Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners affiliate Poseidon.

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Walters: Understanding California’s ever-changing water wars – California

As 2018 was winding down, one of California’s leading newspapers suggested, via a front-page, banner-headlined article, that the drought that had plagued the state for much of this decade may be returning.

Just weeks later, that same newspaper was reporting that record-level midwinter storms were choking mountain passes with snow, rapidly filling reservoirs and causing serious local flooding.

Neither was incorrect at the time, but their juxtaposition underscores the unpredictable nature of California’s water supply.

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Cal Am desal plant gets narrow Planning Commission OK – California

Citing long-running efforts to secure a new Monterey Peninsula water supply and the state-imposed deadline for reducing unauthorized water usage, the county Planning Commission approved California American Water’s desalination plant north of Marina on Wednesday.

By a 6-4 vote, the commission backed a use permit for the proposed 6.4 million gallon per day desal plant. The plant is designed to provide about 40 percent of the Peninsula’s planned new water supply to offset the state’s Carmel River pumping cutback order set to take full effect at the end of 2021, as well as reduce pumping from the Seaside basin. The commission’s approval can be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.

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Santa Barbara Close to 2020 Renewable Energy Goal – California

With eight months left until the end of the year, the City of Santa Barbara is 8 percent shy of its goal to have half the power used by its municipal buildings come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Since the Santa Barbara City Council committed to the goal in 2017, the city started installing three small scale solar arrays, two at fire stations and the last at the Eastside Branch Library, which began going up only this past week, said Alelia Parenteau, Energy Program supervisor at city Public Works.

More solar arrays are being designed for the Santa Barbara airport and Granada Garage.

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Cal Am desal plant project goes to Monterey County Planning Commission – California

Considered by many the key to long-running efforts to cut unauthorized pumping from the Carmel River, California American Water’s proposed desalination plant project is headed to the Monterey County Planning Commission next week.

On Wednesday, the commission is set to conduct a public hearing on a combined development permit for the proposed 6.4-million-gallon-per-day desal plant on Charlie Benson Road off Del Monte Boulevard north of Marina.

The commission is charged with considering a use permit and administrative permit and design approval, for the desal plant and related facilities based on consideration of a combined environmental impact report and environmental impact statement certified by the California Public Utilities Commission in September.

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Oceanside takes step toward water independence with $2.6 million grant – California

Oceanside announced it will receive a $2.6 million federal grant to build two more of the wells that the city has used for more than 20 years to supply a portion of its drinking water.

The wells pump brackish water from what’s called the Mission Basin, an area near the airport, the old swap meet property and the San Luis Rey River.

The city filters the water using the same reverse osmosis process used on a much larger scale in Carlsbad to desalinate seawater.

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MIT Engineers Turn Desalination Waste into Useful Chemicals

Engineers from MIT have devised a new approach for turning desalination waste into useful chemicals.

Modern desalination processes often leave behind a lot of highly concentrated brine, which is usually disposed of by dumping it back into the sea.

This process requires costly pumping systems which have to be managed carefully to prevent damage to marine ecosystems. 

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MIT tech could let desalination plants use their own brine waste

When salt is removed from seawater in desalination plants, the byproduct is – not surprisingly – a lot of highly-concentrated salty brine.

Ordinarily, this is just dumped back into the sea, which can harm the environment. Thanks to a new treatment process, however, that brine could actually be used to desalinate more water.

Developed by a research team at MIT, the proprietary system incorporates what are described as “well-known and standard chemical processes.” These include a nano-filtration process to initially remove unwanted compounds from the brine, followed by one or more stages of electrodialysis.

As a result, the brine is converted into useful chemicals such as sodium hydroxide.

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Study of Brine Discharge from Desalination Plant Finds Good News and Bad News –

Before the Carlsbad Desalination Plant in Southern California began operations in 2015, scientists at UC Santa Cruz recognized an important opportunity to study the effects of the high-salinity brine that would be discharged from the plant into coastal waters.

Starting in 2014, they collected measurements of water chemistry and biological indicators in the area so they could compare conditions before and after the plant began discharging brine into the ocean.

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