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CWA approves grant application for Camp Pendleton desal project


Last updated 3/10/2011 at Noon

The San Diego County Water Authority (CWA) board voted unanimously February 24 to approve a grant application to fund the technical studies of the Camp Pendleton seawater desalination project.

The resolution of endorsement allows CWA staff to submit an application to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for a WaterSMART grant. The Bureau of Reclamation is awarding $1,200,000 of WaterSMART grants for all projects with a maximum of $150,000 to a single applicant.

The Camp Pendleton desalination plant will provide between 50 and 150 million gallons per day of desalinated water (the facility will be constructed in modular phases). A feasibility study completed in 2009 identified two possible sites in the southwest corner of the base near the Santa Margarita River while also identifying new infrastructure needs, environmental and permitting requirements, cost estimates, and project implementation issues associated with potential sites. The study also indicated that further detailed investigations and studies would be needed to confirm the feasibility of developing a large-scale desalination project.

In April 2010 the CWA board approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Camp Pendleton to conduct technical studies, and in January 2011 a request for proposals for technical studies was issued. The studies will include hydrogeological, geophysical, and ocean and marine life investigations and will also review new power supply facility needs, conveyance, and integration into the existing CWA infrastructure. The results from that study will be incorporated into the CWA’s Regional Water Facilities Master Plan update, and additional study components and activities include data gathering, on-shore and offshore borehole drillings, seismic reflection tests, and ocean water sampling and monitoring.

In December 2010 the Bureau of Reclamation released a funding opportunity announcement inviting submissions of proposals for studies. Applicants must provide a 50 percent match, and the activities must begin during Fiscal Year 2011 (successful applicants will be notified by spring) and be completed by September 2012. The local match requirement is already included in the CWA’s Capital Improvement Plan budget.

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