By Sarah Goodyear.
In 2016, after nearly a decade of debate and scrutiny, some residents of sunny, drought-stricken Southern California will start drinking water pulled from the vast Pacific Ocean that laps at their shores. If all goes according to plan, a $1 billion privately financed desalination facility — located in Carlsbad, a short drive up the coast from San Diego — will begin delivering 50 million gallons of drinking water per day to the people of San Diego County.
It will be the largest desal facility in the Western Hemisphere, and its proponents hail it as a reliable source of water in a perennially thirsty state, where a three-year dry spell has highlighted just how fragile the state’s water resources are, and how great the threat a lack of water poses to the viability of the California dream.
“This plant can’t come online fast enough,” Bob Yamada, of the San Diego County Water Authority told theSacramento Bee. “It’s drought-proof. That’s one of the most important attributes. It will be the most reliable water source we have.”
Yet, even with that touted relief, the Carlsbad facility alone isn’t likely to erase desal skeptics’ worries over everything from fish to money.