City Groundwater Desalter Project
For nearly two decades, groundwater quality in the northern portion of the Pleasant Valley Groundwater Basin in Ventura County continuously declined due to infiltration of poor quality surface water. The significant decline in water quality forced the City of Camarillo to reduce groundwater pumping and increase imported water use.
The North Pleasant Valley Desalter Facility project (Project) will treat 4,500 acre feet a year (AFY) of groundwater contaminated by salts from the northern portion of the Basin and yield up to 3,800 AFY of drinking water using Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. The project will allow the City to reduce its dependence on imported State Water Project (SWP) water and increase groundwater pumping. The salts removed from the water through RO treatment will be disposed of through an existing brine pipeline and outfall in Port Hueneme.
Imported water makes up 60 percent of the City’s current water supply and local groundwater makes up the remaining 40 percent. The Project will enable the City to more than double the current local water supply production. Without the Project, the City may become increasingly reliant on imported water due to the spread of poor quality groundwater which could cause City wells to be shut down.
The City completed final design in late 2018 and is currently seeking formal bids for construction of the treatment facility. Construction of the treatment facility slated to start in late summer of 2019 and will continue through mid-2021. The facility is expected to be operational in late 2021.The City has received approval to receive nearly $5 million in Proposition 84 and $10 million in Proposition 1 in State grant funding; and another $5 million from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Desalination WaterSmart Grant Program. The City will continue to pursue additional grant funding from Local, State, and Federal as those funding opportunities become available. The total cost of the Project is approximately $70 million. The City has sufficient reserve money from current water rates available for the remaining Project expenses. When completed, the Project will provide customers with water at more stable rates and minimize reliance on purchased imported water.