The San Diego County Water Authority is turning to the most energy intensive and expensive water supply option by considering a deal for desalination. The de-salted water would be brought to us by Poseidon Resources, a private, for-profit firm. The proposed project was sold to a captive audience more than a decade ago, but since then other water supply options have emerged like Recycled Water (IPR) that are better for the environment and our pocket books.
We recently asked the water economist, David Zetland to take a look at the proposed water purchase agreement between the County Water Authority and Poseidon Resources, and after reviewing it, his analysis amounts to the same as ours. Of further note is that according to Zetland, this more expensive desalination option will actually lower demand for water!
Zetland is yet another voice to add to the critics of this potential deal between CWA and Poseidon Resources. Last week the Independent Rates Oversight Committee added their voice.
If the County Water Authority put half as much money towards conservation as they are asking us to spend on the desalination plant, we could more than make up the difference. Furthermore, we are mandated to conserve 20% by 2020; desalination seems like an expensive step in the wrong direction at this point when there are environmentally and fiscally superior options on the table.