Cunningham introduces bill on studying Diablo Canyon desal
February 23, 2017
Central Coast Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham introduced a bill this week calling for the state of California to conduct a study on the viability of using the Diablo Canyon desalination plant as a future source of local water.
Cunningham introduced Assembly Bill 457 on Feb. 13. On Wednesday, he issued a press lease stating, if feasible, the desalination plant at Diablo Canyon could be repurposed to provide the local region with drought-proof water.
“If nothing else, this drought has taught us that we need to diversify our water supplies, and we need drought-proof sources,” Cunningham said. “As a first step, we should study whether it is feasible to repurpose existing water infrastructure. To me, it’s like recycling — it just makes sense.”
Prior to last year’s announced closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, San Luis Obispo County officials had been planning to build a pipeline that would deliver water from the desalination plant to Avila Beach. The water would then go to South County homes.
In the aftermath of PG&E announcing it would close Diablo Canyon in 2024 and 2025, the utility said said the desalination project was dead. Some critics of the county government then said the plan to pipe desalination water to South County homes was nothing more than an election ploy.
But, earlier this month, the county board of supervisors identified accessing water from the desalination plant as a top priority in its 2017 legislative platform.
Committee hearings on Cunningham’s bill may begin in March.