San Diego builds $1 billion desalination plant to battle California drought
The plant will deliver up to 50 million gallons of water a day to San Diego County, enough to supply about 10 percent of the county's drinking water needs.
California's three-year-old drought is prompting San Diego County to push ahead with the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere. The Carlsbad Desalination Project is located at the Encina Power Station in the city of Carlsbad, California.
Water is drawn from seawater that passes through a series of filters to remove solids and other suspended particles not visible to the naked eye.
Pressure pumps then move the filtered seawater into pressure vessels housing reverse osmosis membranes. The membranes convert the water into high-quality drinking water and concentrated seawater.
The drinking water is then stored and the concentrated seawater is released back into the ocean.
The high costs of constructing and running the desalination plant may pose challenges. Environmentalists have also expressed concerns about the impact of the facilities on marine life.
The $1 billion project has been under construction since 2012 by Poseidon Water and is due to being operating in November. It will deliver up to 50 million gallons of water a day to San Diego County, enough to supply roughly 112,000 households, or about 10 percent of the county's drinking water needs.
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