Santa Barbara Begins Delivering Desalinated Water to Customers
Source: City of Santa Barbara
The City’s Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant has begun sending desalinated water into the City’s water distribution system. Initially, desalinated water production will be intermittent until the start-up and testing phase is completed. This marks a major step in reactivating the Desalination Plant as a water supply for the City during the current drought and into the future. In July 2015, in response to exceptional drought conditions, City Council voted unanimously to reactivate the Desalination plant and awarded a design-build-operate contract to IDE Americas, Inc. The facility uses state-of-the-art technology and design practices to reduce electrical demand and environmental impacts, while providing a critical water supply for the City.
The design includes a screened ocean intake equipped with openings of 1 millimeter, diluted and diffused brine discharge to minimize the impact to the marine environment, and high-efficiency pumps and motors to reduce the plant’s overall electrical power demands. The Desalination Plant will produce nearly three million gallons of water per day, which is about 30 percent of the City’s demand. Desalinated water is another important part of the City’s water portfolio to ensure the community has an ample supply of safe drinking water.
The City’s desalinated water meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water regulations and is softer than local surface and groundwater supplies. Soft water contains lower levels of naturally occurring calcium and magnesium, meaning it could eliminate or reduce the need for water softeners, and may require people to adjust their private water conditioning system settings. A water conditioning company can assist in making adjustments, if needed.
The desalination treatment process includes conditioning the water to make it compatible with existing infrastructure and water supplies. The City is performing additional lead and copper monitoring and corrosion testing throughout the distribution system to confirm desalinated water has no negative impacts to the City’s water pipes and supporting infrastructure. The City is committed to delivering safe and reliable drinking water to meet water demands now and in the future. For more information, visit the City’s website atwww.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/Desal or call the Water Resources Division at (805) 564-5378.