San Diego to Get Drinking Water from the Ocean

Written by on December 11, 2012 in Technology
California coastline will soon be home to a full-scale desalination plant.

California coastline will soon be home to a full-scale desalination plant. Photo credit: prayerfriends via photopin cc

With only about 0.5 percent of the Earth’s water ready for drinking, San Diego is now planning on getting its fresh drinking water from a much bigger source: The Pacific Ocean.

This week, a state agency will begin administering the bonds necessary to finance the construction of the desalination plant. The plant will be operational in 2016 and will be able to provide 50 million gallons of drinking water, making it the largest facility in the Western Hemisphere.

This solution is causing some controversy. Those who support the desalination plans say that it’s a much better alternative to diverting fresh water from rivers and streams and that it is necessary to guard against drought. Those opposed note that the facility will consume large amounts of fossil fuels and put marine life in danger

“San Diego has reached a major milestone in its long-term plan to develop drought-proof, local sources of water to sustain our economy and quality of life,” says Carlos Riva, chief executive officer for Poseidon Resources, which will develop the project.

But Heather Cooley, co-director of the Pacific Institute Water Program, notes that “Seawater desalination remains among the most expensive water-supply options available…”

To learn more:

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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