Cunningham introduces bill on studying Diablo Canyon desal

February 23, 2017

Jordan Cunningham

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.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Cunningham will do nothing for years in the Assembly, then move to the State Senate and do nothing, then he will retire with a nice pension and become a lobbyist. What were people thinking electing this guy who owed his whole career to Daddy working in the DA’s office.

2017, in the the most self proclaimed “progressive state in the nation”, we have seen a lack of leadership and planning by the dem led legislature for over 40 years and now it has suddenly become “a crisis” because of possibly one single incident(the Oroville dam). The lack of maintenance or planning by the state overall has left us in this sad state of affairs over and over again…

The state has done nothing positive with the money they take from us taxpayers for the sole purpose(supposedly) to solve the water shortage.

Here we are decades after all of the bond measures have been passed (that were specifically designated for additional water and infrastructure improvements)and we have sent our tax dollars in and what do have to show for it?

Moonbeam reacts to the situation as if he is just now hearing of it and in reality he just responds to the dem voters not the problem.

California like all of the western states is more desert than jungle and since we supply a majority of food to feed the nation, we should have been ready for this years ago and secured additional storage or sources for the water we all need…

Yea but Ca. Dept of Corrections pays for sex change operations on convicted murderers, that’s something.


i stand corrected…

The land will not be safe for a very long long time , desaling h2/0 there is just ridiculous . making it a park or trails wrong again , they have been stacking fuel; rods on site since the plant was born they store them 1 mile from the plant , takes 7 hours to move them . The land is completely useless except as a nuclear plant any other use is just ignorant !!!!!!!!!!!

There may be some safety concerns if the fuel rods continue to be stored there after the plant closes but it would be from the need to protect the rods from terrorists and idiots. As long as the areas within the plant that are “hot” are kept secure, other areas (including, I assume, the desal plant) should be safe.

As Ricky2 said, the problem will be supplying it with enough energy to operate — an expensive proposition without an on-site energy source. The idea may be worth considering but the economics may not pan out.

Actually this land would be good for many short term uses such as an RV park; or even better, a cemetery. At $3K-$8K per plot… there are how many acres there? Funerals would not seriously impact the winding road there (how many could there possibly be in one day?), the road could be locked at night for security. No one (alive) would be there more than an hour or so and if you didn’t want to go, you have a built-in excuse: “I don’t want to go there because I am concerned about the radiation,” as if.

Where do I sign?

Desal’s a very energy-intensive way to make water — greenhouse gas emissions, etc. At present the plant’s run by the power plant. Without the power plant an alternative source of power will be needed. Not a particularly green fix.

“to conduct a study” = political speak for wasting more taxpayer money.

Great idea to work with PG&E to utilize their Desal plant. But we don’t need to waste taxpayer’s money with another study. I would bet that PG&E can tell you exactly what the specs are for the plant and what the operating costs would be. Just pick up the telephone and call them and I’m sure they would share all of the information with you. This should be non-controversial since Adam Hill appears to be on board with the idea.