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Study: Desal plant at Camp Pendleton

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The plans to build a desalination plant at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton are moving forward.

San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors and Camp Pendleton approved an agreement, under which the Water Authority will begin studying the feasibility and cost of building and operating a regional seawater desalination facility.

“This agreement will help us conduct the research necessary to determine whether a desalination facility at Camp Pendleton fits our strategy, without impacting Camp Pendleton’s primary mission and we greatly appreciate the Marine Corps’ support and cooperation to help us move forward,” said Maureen Stapleton, Water Authority general manager.

The plant could produce between 50 million and 150 million gallons per day, the equivalent of 56,000 to 168,000 acre-feet of water annually.

Two potential sites for the plant, both in the southwest corner of the base, near the mouth of the Santa Margarita River, were studied as part of a feasibility study in 2009.

The facility’s location at the north end of the Water Authority’s regional aqueduct system would allow for efficient distribution of the desalinated water.

In addition to the Carlsbad desalination plant, which is currently under construction, the Water Authority plans to study the two potential sites in Mexico to meet its goal of developing 89,000 acre-feet of desalinated water. When complete in 2012, the Carlsbad plant will provide 56,000 acre-feet. The Water Authority’s Urban Management Plan determined Camp Pendleton project could supply the remaining 33,000 acre-feet.

“Our current water shortage sharply reinforces the fact we not only have to carefully manage our current water resources, but that we must continue to pursue a strategic vision for securing additional supplies to meet our region’s needs in the future,” Stapleton said. “Seawater desalination is an important part of the Water Authority’s long-term strategy to increase the region’s water supply reliability through diversifying our portfolio of local and imported water resources.”

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