H-SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Nov 29, 2012 5:44 AM by Associated Press

Huge California desalination plant faces key test

SAN DIEGO (AP) - An effort to build the Western Hemisphere's largest seawater desalination plant faces a key test as San Diego's regional water agency decides whether to buy all its output.

The San Diego County Water Authority board will consider today a 30-year contract to buy the water. Poseidon Resources needs the deal to finance the $984 million project.

The plant in Carlsbad would produce 50 million gallons of highly purified drinking water a day, enough to supply about 8 percent of the region in 2020. Critics have focused on the high costs.

Desalination has helped quench demand in Australia, Saudi Arabia and other countries lacking fresh water, but it has been slow to catch on in the United States.

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