by Paul Helliker
At the August 19 meeting the MMWD Board of Directors unanimously approved a 5-million-gallon-per-day (MGD) desalination facility, expandable to 15 MGD, thereby keeping desalination available as one of Marin’s potential future water supply sources.
Earlier this year, on February 11, the board adopted several other water supply options, including operational improvements to the reservoir system, an expansion of MMWD’s recycled water distribution system, investigation into ways to improve the reliability of the district’s Russian River water supply, and further investment in MMWD’s aggressive water conservation program.
The desalination project approved by the board was the primary water supply alternative studied in an environmental impact report (EIR) that was certified by the board on February 4, 2009.
In the process of making their decision, Board members assured the public that each future Board action necessary before a desalination plant could be constructed and operated—such as contracts related to permitting, all design work, the issuance of debt, and the actual construction of a plant itself—would be subject to further public review and comment. In addition, a plan for providing renewable energy for the facility will also be developed and subjected to public review and Board action.
For several years MMWD has been investigating desalination along with a number of other options to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for customers during droughts and in the future. Specifically, MMWD has studied desalination since 1990 and initiated work on the current EIR in 2001.
The Marin Independent Journal has run a number of positive columns on desalination and this decision. The first is a column by Richard Rubin, which is at:
Dick Spotswood, the political columnist for the Independent Journal, weighed in here:
And the whole editorial board of the Independent Journal provided the following support for MMWD:
The Pacific Sun also provided the following positive take on MMWD’s action: