Desalination projects in San Diego can get large funding under a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Levin. According to Mr. Levin, the Desalination Development Act would fund $260 million over five years for desalination projects around the country, including the Mission Basin Groundwater Purification Facility in Oceanside, which turns salty flows into potable water.
It also establishes environmental standards for federally funded projects, including energy efficiency, wildlife protection, and water conservation.
“Extreme droughts are becoming more frequent and intense in the region as a result of climate change”, Levin added. “As a result, there is a significant challenge emerging when it comes to water supply and the government must do everything possible to increase the drinking water supply, in a sustainable manner”.
Recently, the House of Representatives approved a $715 billion transportation and water finance package, and the Senate is currently considering a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal.
Levin indicated that if the financing for desalination does not pass that bill, it may be included in a larger $3.5 trillion spending plan that Democrats plan to present through the budget reconciliation process.
The bill would cover 25% of the cost of desalination systems up to $20 million per project, with priority given to facilities in areas experiencing extreme drought.
Desalination projects must reduce dependency on imported water. In addition, renewable energy must be used as much as feasible to power the desalination process and enhance energy efficiency to qualify for federal financing.
The funding recipients will also be required to demonstrate that they have implemented water conservation measures and are attempting to reuse stormwater and wastewater in their areas. Additionally, the systems also must be designed to reduce effects on marine life and avoid harming coastal wildlife.
Sources cite that the bill will be introduced by Levin alongside Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), the chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife.