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FAQs

How does the desalination plant fit into the City’s water supply portfolio?

The City built a desalination facility in 1991 to produce drinking water from ocean water as an emergency water supply in response to the severe drought from 1986 to 1991. Once the 1991 drought ended, it was put into long-term storage mode due to sufficient surface water supplies. Our adopted 2011 Long-term Water Supply Plan indicated a need for the desalination plant in the 6th year of drought. We are currently in the 3rd year. It has been estimated that it will take almost 2 years to rehab the plant (for design and construction). While the plant is not currently operational, the City has maintained permits over the years in the event the plant is needed for emergency purposes. In the coming months, City staff will be releasing a Request for Proposals for a consultant contract to develop performance specifications for restarting the desalination facility. Learn more about the City’s desalination plant.