The San Diego County Water Authority announced it had received a $170 million low-interest loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to finance environmental upgrades for the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant.
According to the San Diego County Water Authority, the Carlsbad Desalination Plant is the nation's largest, most technologically advanced, and energy-efficient desalination plant. Since it has begun operations in December 2015, it has produced more than 100 billion gallons of drinking water for the region.
U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, who represents coastal communities, helped secure the funds from the Federal Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIDIA). It is anticipated that this additional funding will save ratepayers up to $54 million compared to other financing strategies.
“As we continue to confront increasingly frequent and intense droughts, the EPA announcement is an exciting step in our efforts to provide sustainable, reliable water supplies for San Diego County,” said Rep. Levin in a statement. “This low-interest federal loan will not only allow the Carlsbad Desalination Plant to improve its efficiency and environmental practices but will also save local water ratepayers tens of millions of dollars. I will never stop fighting to improve our region’s water security at the most affordable price for ratepayers.”
The loan aims to help Poseidon Resources (Channelside) LP continue to provide local, sustainable, drought-proof water to the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies while reducing the costs of the current intake modification project.
“Saving ratepayers money while enhancing environmental protections is solid gold,” said Water Authority Board Chair Mel Katz. “The team effort between Poseidon, the Water Authority, and Congressman Levin illustrates our commitment to finding cost savings wherever we can while continuing to provide safe and reliable water supplies for our region.”
Work on the Carlsbad Desalination Plant started in January 2023 and the new facilities are anticipated to be operational by December 2024. According to the water authority, there will be a planned plant outage required near the end of the project to connect the new facilities of the existing intake system. Otherwise, construction will not impact water production from the plant.