Is Diablo desal SLO County’s next water source?
May 19, 2015
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is slated to approve an agreement Tuesday that, in emergency situations, will allow the county’s branch of Cal Fire to purchase desalinated water from Diablo Canyon Power Plant.
Pacific Gas & Electric operates a desalination facility at Diablo Canyon that produces more water than is needed at the power plant. Also, the desalination plant is only producing 40 to 50 percent of what is capable of, according to a county staff report.
The water that the county fire department intends to buy is non-potable and is expected to be used for firefighting purposes or for use in other emergencies. Cal Fire has not yet indicated how much desalinated water it plans to purchase.
The proposed agreement, which is on the board of supervisor’s consent agenda, calls for the county to pay PG&E $3.34 per 1,000 gallons, or $1,086 per acre foot of water. The rate will increase 3 percent yearly.
Cal Fire plans to transport the water by truck and possibly store it in 20,000-gallon inflatable bladders, according to the staff report.
Some county residents and officials are calling for increased use of Diablo Canyon’s desalination plant. The county may explore the feasibility of a pipeline from the power plant that could make for a new source of drinking water.
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