California Invests in Desalination Projects to Expand Water Supplies 

WHAT TO KNOW: California continues to advance desalination to expand the state’s water supplies, awarding $5 million in Proposition 1 grants to three local projects – part of more than $82 million that has been invested to date.

SACRAMENTO – Boosting the state’s work to protect California’s water supply from the impacts of climate-driven extremes in weather, the Newsom Administration today awarded $5 million in Proposition 1 desalination grants to three projects in Mendocino, Fresno and Los Angeles counties. An additional six projects will receive funding through a partnership with the National Alliance for Water Innovation to advance desalination implementation and research.

A key component of California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future, desalination removes salts and minerals from brackish water and seawater to produce water suitable for consumption, irrigation and other needs. The state is working to expand brackish groundwater desalination production by 28,000 acre-feet per year by 2030 to help diversify local water supplies.

“California is taking action to adapt to the extremes in weather we’re seeing across the state, reshaping our water systems to meet these new challenges and better protect our communities,” said Governor Newsom. “Our all-of-the-above approach includes capturing and storing more water and innovative solutions like desalination to boost supplies and prepare for a hotter, drier future.”

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced that three desalination projects in Mendocino, Fresno, and Los Angeles counties will receive $5 million from the Proposition 1- funded Water Desalination Grant Program:

  • Water Replenishment District of Southern California Construction Project: In Los Angeles County, a project in the City of Torrance will construct a conveyance pipeline to connect an existing well to the existing Goldsworthy Desalter system and install a self-cleaning auto-strainer. The project will reduce the community’s reliance on imported water, provide a sustainable local potable water supply, and increase desalinated water production by 1,120-acre feet per year or approximately enough water for 2,200 households.
  • Westlands Water District Design Pilot Project: In Fresno County, the project will desalinate brackish groundwater from the westside upper aquifer and use salt-tolerant plants to remove salts from the brine. The project will provide cost-effective, reliable and high-quality water to the district and the communities of Coalinga, Huron, and Avenal.
  • City of Fort Bragg Design Pilot Project: Near the City of Fort Bragg, the project will install an innovative, wave-powered seawater desalination iceberg buoy to provide potable water to residents. The project will diversify the city’s water supply portfolio, create a locally controlled, sustainable, and carbon-free potable water supply, produce water without grid electricity, and strengthen water resiliency during future droughts.

To date, DWR has awarded over $82 million in Proposition 1 desalination grants to support 20 projects. Three projects are currently under construction in Antioch, Camarillo, and Santa Monica. Additionally, three previously funded projects have completed construction and are now in operation in Torrance, Santa Barbara, and the City of Avalon on Catalina Island. Together, the completed projects produce 8,787 acre-feet of potable water per year serving approximately 18,000 households.

DWR is also collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) to support six projects that will pilot breakthrough technologies to reduce energy demand and costs for desalination projects. More information can be found here.

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