The California Coastal Commission has issued the Poseidon Resources Corporation a construction permit for the Carlsbad desalination project, according to a November 3 press release.
“With this permit in hand, the project’s preconstruction phase formally begins now with the initiation of site demolition and preparation,” read the release.
The projected $320 million facility will be built adjacent to the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad. When completed in 2012, the 50-million-gallon-per-day plant will supply about 10 percent of the San Diego region’s drinking-water needs. In addition to Carlsbad, water agencies in 12 surrounding cities plan on using water from the facility.
The construction permit is the culmination of ten years of study, lawsuits, and compromises; Poseidon made the initial application in 1998. When completed, the facility will be the largest water-desalination plant in the western hemisphere, but only the second to be built in San Diego County.
The first desalination plant was built in 1963, a pilot project of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Saline Water. Operated in Point Loma, the plant supplied 50,000 gallons per day to local residents for over a year. Dismantled in 1964, the plant was shipped to Guantanamo, Cuba, in response to Fidel Castro’s disconnection of water lines to the American base.