OMWD is studying the possibility of developing a local water supply through a groundwater desalination project in the San Dieguito Valley utilizing grant funding from California’s Department of Water Resources. Preview the November 2017 Draft Feasibility Study (35 MB) and Appendices (84 MB).
The study will take place through 2017 and will analyze:
If the study yields positive results, OMWD may move forward with an environmental impact analysis and construction of a groundwater desalination project.
Study Area Map
OMWD is heavily reliant on imported water, much of which comes from far-off places like the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta and Colorado River. The development of a local, sustainable water source like this one is becoming increasingly important as imported water costs continue to rise and water availability becomes more uncertain. Local sources also provide water supply redundancy should imported supplies be cut off.
The potential project would extract groundwater from wells located in the San Dieguito Valley Groundwater Basin and deliver it to a nearby desalination facility. Treated through reverse osmosis, a filtration process that improves water quality by removing impurities such as salts, hardness, and other dissolved minerals, the water would be available for uses like drinking and fire protection.
The groundwater used to create this supply for OMWD customers would be above and beyond that already being used by existing groundwater users. In other words, customers already using groundwater through a private well would not be impacted.
Project costs will be calculated as part of the study. The project would be paid for through OMWD capital improvement funds and developer fees, as well as potential state and federal grants.
The water supply would need to be produced at a cost that is comparable to developing other local potable water supplies in order to be considered feasible. OMWD has anticipated this cost in its long-term financial planning.
Public outreach meetings will be planned to discuss the project with local residents and area stakeholders. A PowerPoint presentation providing an update on the study was reviewed by stakeholders at the October 17, 2017 community meeting. Additional meeting dates and times will be posted here as they are confirmed.
The study will continue throughout 2017. Once all data has been gathered and analyzed, OMWD’s board will decide whether the project moves forward. With board approval, OMWD could begin producing a new, locally sourced drinking water supply as early as 2020.
For more information about the study or potential project, please contact Joey Randall, OMWD Assistant General Manager, at 760-753-6466.
To learn more about OMWD’s efforts to explore groundwater desalination as a potential local source of potable water, visit our San Elijo/San Dieguito Valley Groundwater Project page.