Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority were recognized at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association's 21st Annual Golden Watchdog & Fleece Awards for their work on the Carlsbad Desalination Project. The project was a unique collaboration between the private and public sectors that stretched the taxpayer's dollars.
The $1 billion project was comprised of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant adjacent to NRG Energy’s Encina Power Station on Agua Hedionda Lagoon; a 10-mile pipeline that connects to the Water Authority’s regional distribution system; and upgrades to the Water Authority’s facilities for distributing desalinated seawater throughout the region.
The project comes as a result of the 30-year Water Purchase Agreement signed in 2012 between Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority:
The agreement provided assurances that Poseidon needed to secure funding for plant construction, most of which came from the sale of private bonds and nearly $200 million in private equity from Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. It also allowed the Water Authority to protect the region’s water ratepayers by shifting appropriate construction and operation risks to Poseidon. The agreement effectively balances private and public interests, requiring the Water Authority to pay only for water that is produced according to pre-set quality and quantity standards, while providing Poseidon with a return on its investment.