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Carlsbad sand dredging project protects beaches, water supply

Posted at 3:33 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 19:56:42-05

Heavy equipment will dominate a stretch of Carlsbad’s beach near the old Encina Power Plant for the next month.

Crews are funneling thousands of cubic yards of sand per day onto the beach, not only to protect the shoreline, but also the water supply.

Poseidon Water, which runs the desalination plant adjacent to the old power plant is running the project. The desalination plant converts 50 million gallons of ocean water to drinking water per day, providing 10 percent of the region's water supply.

The ocean water flows under Coast Highway, into the Agua Hedionda lagoon, and into the plant. Problem is, the opening gets clogged every few years

“In order to maintain that water flow, we need to periodically dredge the opening of the lagoon,” said Jessica Jones, communications director for Poseidon.

Crews brought a massive barge up from the South Bay, waiting for just the right conditions to fit it under the bridge.

By the end of march, it will have pumped 300,000 cubic yards of sand to fill the beaches in Carlsbad. And that's important, because without it, the beaches could disappear.

“If we weren't replenishing that sand on the beach, it would go back to its natural state, which is a rocky cobblestone beach,” Jones said.

The project cost between $3 and $4 million. Crews will be working daylight hours between Mondays through Saturdays. They expect to be wrapped up by late March, but have until April 15th to finish the job.