In the News


SANTA CRUZ, CA — A $4 million pilot desalination plant was switched on for the first time on March 20, marking the first step toward the opening of a permanent desalination plant that should be operational in 2015, according to a March 21 Santa Cruz Sentinel story.

“The major goal of this project for Santa Cruz is to deal with our problem of not having enough water in drought conditions. This is our best hope,” Councilman Mike Rotkin said in the story.

The desalination project is a team effort by the city Water Department and Soquel Creek Water District, the two water agencies that provide the bulk of the drinking water locally, as WaterTech Online™ reported.

Soquel Creek is plagued with overused wells threatened by saltwater intrusion. Santa Cruz relies on surface water, yet finds itself stuck in a bind during dry periods every six or seven years, the article said.

A $2 million grant from the state Department of Water Resources helped pay for the pilot plant. The other half was shared between the two agencies.

According to the story, the plant generates about 72,000 gallons of fresh water each day. The water is not for consumption, but is instead pumped back into the ocean.

The proposed permanent desalination plant would cost $40 million and produce 2.5 million gallons a day, according to the article. The plant is intended to be used only during drought times.

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