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The San Diego County Water Authority and Carlsbad Municipal Water District reach an agreement to receive more desalinated water from the Carlsbad Desalination Plant. Photo courtesy Poseidon Water
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Carlsbad to get additional water from desalination plant

CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad Municipal Water District approved an agreement with the San Diego County Water Authority this month to guarantee an additional supply of water from the newly completed Carlsbad Desalination Project for the next 30 years.

The district provides water to about 85 percent of the city.

The SDCWA purchases water from Poseidon Water, the desalination plant’s owner, and distributes the water via its aqueduct system to water agencies in the region, including Carlsbad. Desalinated water is expected to account for about 7 percent of the county’s total water supply by 2020.

Prior to the project’s completion, water authority member agencies were given the option of purchasing an additional supply of desalinated water. The CMWD opted to purchase 2,500 acre-feet per year. An acre-foot of water is generally enough to meet the annual needs of two families of four.

“Our quality of life and economy depend on having a safe, reliable water supply,” said district General Manager Wendy Chambers. “This additional water supply expands our access to more locally controlled, drought proof sources of water.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the water district would pay about $2,400 an acre-foot for the additional supply of desalinated water. The agreement also allows the water district to purchase more than the 2,500 acre-feet if additional supply is available. The cost of this additional water would be lower at about $2,200.

The cost of imported water, which accounts for about 90 percent of local supply, has been increasing steadily due to the ongoing drought and environmental constraints in the Bay Delta. The current cost is $1,440 an acre-foot. The cost is projected to match the price of desalinated water in the next 13 years.