Multi-million-dollar desalination expansion means millions of gallons of water for the South Bay

Sweetwater Authority dedicates new desal plant

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV)-A multi-million-dollar expansion means millions of more gallons of clean drinking water for San Diego’s South Bay.  The Sweetwater Authority dedicated the expansion of its Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility Thursday.

The $42 million expansion doubles the plant’s output to 10 million gallons of water a day.  Sweetwater Authority had to dig five new wells for the desal plant, which is located in Chula Vista.

“It’s a day to celebrate,” said Sweetwater’s Director of Engineering Ron Mosher.

This desalination plant is different from the much larger one in Carlsbad, California.  That plant cleans seawater.  The plant in Chula Vista cleans brackish groundwater, which has less salt.

“This water costs less to produce for our customers than the water that’s available from the San Diego County Water Authority,” said Mosher, referring to the water Sweetwater Authority would otherwise have to purchase.

He said the desalination expansion wouldn’t prevent water rates from increasing but it would slow them from skyrocketing.

The original desalination plant was built in 1999 with a floor plan already set for this expansion.  Customers from Chula Vista, National City, Bonita, and San Diego will receive the desalinated water.

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