State's biggest desal plant to open: What it means

Poseidon Water’s desalination plant in Carlsbad is poised to begin regular operations within days — decades after water officials first considered harvesting drinking water from the sea and 14 years after they formally took the first steps toward its construction.

The opening, to be celebrated with an anticipatory ceremony Monday, will be a milestone for the company, for arid San Diego County and for all of California.

The San Diego region, which imports most of its water, will enter a new era in its quest for a reliable supply of this precious and increasingly pricey commodity. For the first time, a significant portion of its water supply will come from the sea.

Poseidon will sell the fresh water it produces to the San Diego County Water Authority, the region’s main provider. The authority will resell that water to retail districts that serve residents, schools and businesses. The Poseidon plant can create up to 50 million gallons of fresh water a day; that’s about 8 percent to 10 percent of the county’s overall supply.

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