Ten Carlsbad Water Plant Employees Live at Work for 21 Days

Millions of Californians are staying home.  Millions are working from home.

Ten are living at work.

“We have locked down the site out here. We have ten employees that are doing the job of those 42 employees,” said Poseidon Director of Communications Jessica Jones.

Carlsbad Desal Plant Workers Shelter-in-Place at Work to Ensure Water Safety

During these uncertain times, many people are sacrificing their lives for the greater good.

A highly specialized group of employees at public utility plants who have jobs that are impossible to do at home are some of these workers. Some workers at the Poseidon Desalination Water Plant in Carlsbad are going above and beyond to make sure our drinking water is safe from the coronavirus.

When we think of heroes during this coronavirus pandemic, we immediately think of medical staff, grocery workers, and delivery people. But remember to thank those who continue to provide water.



Critical Water Plant Workers Self-Isolate on Site

In an effort to ensure continuity of operations, ten volunteers are sheltering in place at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant in San Diego County. Poseidon Water’s Jessica Jones shares this inspiring story of selfless dedication to keeping the water flowing.

The Water Authority purchases up to 56,000 acre-feet of water from the Carlsbad plant per year – enough to serve approximately 400,000 people annually. The plant is a major component of the Water Authority’s multi-decade strategy to diversify the county’s water supply portfolio and minimize vulnerability to drought or other water supply emergencies.

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Carlsbad Desalination Plant Staff Take Extraordinary Step to Shelter in Place to Ensure Operational Continuity at Critical Facility

“As manager of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant in San Diego County, our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of the employees and compliance with stringent state and federal standards for the production of a safe and healthy drinking water supply.

Poseidon Desal Plant Gets Fresh Analysis, but Coronavirus Delays Friday Meeting

Two issues that could decide the fate of the proposed Poseidon desalination plant in Huntington Beach will have to wait for public debate, as the meeting of the Regional Water Quality Control Board planned for Friday, March 13, has been cancelled because of the coronavirus.

A water board staff report prepared for the meeting provides apparent justification for the board to approve the project, but it also notes the board may disagree and request a revision. Poseidon Water needs just two more permits to go forward — one from the water board and then one from the Coastal Commission.

The workshop planned for Friday was to follow up a similar session held in December. At that meeting, several key issues continued to concern some board members, who requested additional information on whether the desalinated water was needed and whether the proposed mitigation was adequate for the environmental damage expected.

Huntington Beach Desalination Plant Eyes Approval, But Foes Turn Out In Force

With Poseidon Water’s plans for a Huntington Beach desalination plant approaching the homestretch, critics were as adamant as ever at a Friday workshop, where dozens complained the proposal is environmentally flawed, unneeded and would jack up water rates.

The meeting of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board was called to review a draft permit and solicit public comment in advance of a scheduled April 3 vote on the final permit.

Approval rides on whether the board determines the drought-proof project will “use the best available site, design, technology and mitigation measures feasible to minimize the intake and mortality of all forms of marine life.”

Huntington Beach Desalination Plant Appears Headed for a Key Approval

Poseidon Water’s long-delayed plans to build one of the West Coast’s biggest seawater desalination plants on the Huntington Beach coastline appear headed for a key approval.

A regional water board is proposing to grant Poseidon permits for a $1-billion desalting facility that would annually produce enough drinking water to supply 100,000 Orange County households.

Bi-National Conference Tackles Border Region’s Water Issues

A bi-national conference held Monday at San Diego State University was aimed at analyzing water resources in the Baja California and San Diego border region where challenges include cross-border pollution and water scarcity, experts said.

Doheny Desalination Plant Still On Track Despite Higher Cost Estimates

While projected cost increases to the proposed Doheny desalination plant drew concern from two South Coast Water District directors at a meeting Wednesday, the majority of the board took the updated analysis in stride and the district continues pursuit of the project.

The bottom line for the average residential customer is that the expected monthly bill increase is now $10 — a 9% hike — rather than the $5 to $7 estimated in a 2017 report. Three members of the five-member board appeared comfortable with the latest estimates.

San Diego regional water quality regulators issued a new permit for the development of permanent, stand-alone seawater intake and discharge facilities at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant. Photo: Water Authority

Fitch Boosts Desalination Plant Bond Rating

Bonds from the Carlsbad Desalination Plant and pipeline were upgraded to BBB and given a stable outlook in a new report from Fitch Ratings, affirming the project’s sound management and its ability to provide a stable, reliable source of drinking water to the San Diego region.

As the largest, most technologically advanced and energy-efficient plant of its kind in the nation, the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant’s stability stems from an effective collaboration between Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority.

That partnership will continue under a transfer of ownership from Orion Water Partners to Aberdeen Standard Investments approved Thursday by the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. The transfer – made public in June – will not alter day-to-day operations at the Carlsbad facility or create a fiscal impact to the Water Authority.

Poseidon Water continues to manage desalination facility

The plant will remain governed by terms of the 2012 Water Purchase Agreement between Poseidon Water and the Water Authority. That 30-year agreement requires Poseidon to obtain the Water Authority’s written consent of the transaction and to reimburse the Water Authority for its costs related to consideration of the consent request. Under the WPA, the Water Authority agreed to purchase between 48,000 acre-feet and 56,000 acre-feet of water from the desalination plant each year at a price established by the contract.  At the end of the 30-year term the Water Authority can assume facility ownership for $1.

“We are honored that maintaining Poseidon Water as the facility manager was integral to the Water Authority’s approval of the ownership transfer and by the Water Authority’s acknowledgement of our exemplary stewardship of this valuable resource,” said Carlos Riva, CEO of Poseidon Water. “We look forward to working alongside our new partners to continue providing the San Diego region with a climate-resilient drinking water supply and ensuring the plant continues its strong operations.”

Desalination plant is ‘hedge against drought’

Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer said the desalination plant is a valuable asset that provides high-quality water, a hedge against drought and insurance against earthquakes that could disrupt imported water deliveries. “With more than 50 billion gallons of water produced and counting, the Carlsbad plant is a critical part of our region’s infrastructure – and we don’t expect the sale to change that in any way,” he said. “In fact, we anticipate many more years of productive partnering with Poseidon.”

The Carlsbad Desalination Plant has met approximately 10% of the San Diego region’s water needs. The planned construction of new, technologically advanced and environmentally sensitive intake and discharge facilities will further enhance operations.

Higher ratings expected to save ratepayers money

Plant partners also praised the improved ratings for the desal plant and the associated pipeline by Fitch Ratings, which upgraded bonds from BBB- to BBB based on the plant’s strong operational record, updated financing projections for capital improvements, and Fitch’s expectation that the positive trend in financial and operational performance will continue.

Also this week, Moody’s affirmed its Baa3 rating for the plant and pipeline bonds. When those bonds are refinanced, higher ratings are expected to save ratepayers money by lowering the interest rate paid on the debt.

Since its inception as a public-private partnership, the Carlsbad facility has received numerous national and international awards.

The P3 approach allowed the Water Authority to develop new, capital-intensive, public-serving infrastructure without incurring debt or negatively affecting bond ratings, a fact recognized in 2016 when S&P raised the Water Authority’s credit rating to AAA citing, in part, the successful delivery of the Carlsbad facility.