Coastkeeper sues Water Authority over desalination plants

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CARLSBAD, Calif. -- A water conservation group argued in court this week that the San Diego County Water Authority needs to do more to account for the potential environmental effects of its upcoming projects, particularly the water desalination plant scheduled to open in Carlsbad.

San Diego Coastkeeper is suing the water authority, claiming that its long-term supply plan violates the California Environmental Quality Act, Los Angeles Times reported.

"We're not saying stop desalination," said attorney Everett DeLano, who represented the advocacy group during a hearing in San Diego Superior Court on Wednesday. But, he said, there does need to be "an honest accounting" of the energy the desalination process requires and an analysis of the greenhouse gases associated with that process.

DeLano also argued that such information should be made available regarding a possible desalination plant on Camp Pendleton, a project that was noted in the Regional Water Facilities Optimization and Master Plan Update that sets precedent for supply decisions through 2035.

Representatives from the water authority say the Carlsbad plant's environmental effects have been accounted for by Poseidon Water, the project's private developer, and that a mitigation plan has been put in place.

Construction of the Carlsbad reverse-osmosis plant, North America's largest and most advanced desalination project, is expected to finish this fall. The plant could provide up to 50 million gallons of water a day, enough to serve about 112,000 families.


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