South Coast Water District’s Desalination Project Will Provide a Local, Reliable Water Supply

The Doheny Ocean Desalination Project will decrease the water district’s reliance on imported water.
Photograph Courtesy of South Coast Water District

South Coast Water District plans to decrease its reliance on imported water by creating a local, reliable, drought-proof supply through the Doheny Ocean Desalination Project. The project would also provide emergency water should the delivery of imported water be disrupted by earthquakes or other natural disasters.

“If those pipelines were ruptured, we could have an outage of two months,” says Rick Shintaku, general manager of South Coast Water District. “It’s another reason why our district is looking to build this desalination project. Because if we do that, we’re able to take 2 million gallons per day from it, and we’re able to serve water to our customers for 60 days. The importance of doing that in a business area, resort areas, and our residences out here is significant.”  

The project has been approved by the California Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission. The desalination plant will use subsurface slant wells to draw seawater in from beneath the ocean floor and pump it to the treatment facility, where it will undergo reverse osmosis and disinfection to produce clean drinking water.


Anticipated year the facility will be operational 


Estimated number of months to construct the slant wells beneath Doheny State Beach Campgrounds

$32.4 million

Grants received so far


Estimated average monthly increase to South County Water District ratepayers (single-family residence)

5 million

Total additional gallons of drinking water that will be available per day once the project is complete 

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