Water drop impact. Photo by: Davide Restivo / Wikimedia Commons
Water drop impact. Photo by: Davide Restivo / Wikimedia Commons

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Written by: Matthew McGuire
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In one of the largest droughts in the history of California, the city of Santa Barbara has recently approved a section of their budget for a $55 million desalination plant.

This plant would produce close to one third of the residents drinking water.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

“Desalination has been a last resort,” Mayor Helene Schneider told The Times Tuesday night after the vote. “The way the drought has continued these last four years, we are really getting at that last resort.”

The process of reopening the plant began last September, when Lake Cachuma, the city’s main reservoir, dipped below 30% capacity. The City Council that month voted to jump-start efforts to bring the desalination plant back online.

The contract approved Tuesday includes about $46.6 million for design and construction. Additional costs come from legal and consulting fees during the permitting process. The plant is expected to be operating by fall 2016.


In addition to the plant creating water for the drought, it would also clean up some of the polluted water from the recent oil spill near Santa Barbara.

Climate change is a serious issue that continues to create conflict around the globe. The Orange County Water District has also begun discussion on opening a desalination plant for their area.

This area covers most of northern Orange County, including: Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Seal Beach and Irvine.


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