City of Santa Barbara Seawater Desalination Plant Reactivation Project

City of Santa Barbara, 
California

City of Santa Barbara Seawater Desalination Plant Reactivation Project

Service Type: 
Santa Barbara Beach

The City of Santa Barbara (City) constructed their seawater desalination plant as an emergency supply in response to a severe drought that depleted the City's available water resources. Due to abundant rainfall since 1991, the plant remained in standby mode following the completion of the initial construction start-up testing period in June 1992. The desalination plant has remained an important and permanent part of the City's long-term water supply plan and - in 2014, following 3 years of consecutive drought, the City began the process of reactivating the plant by hiring Carollo to provide program management services that included:

  • Preliminary design to establish the scope of the reactivation work.
  • Permitting and environmental review, including engineering and administration support of:
    • CEQA addendum.
    • Local coastal permitting for substantial conformance determination.
    • California Coastal Commission Permitting for repair and maintenance activities at the City's screened open ocean intake.
    • An update to the City's NDPES permit to update brine dilution modeling and include prior intake study findings into the existing permit.
  • Cost estimating the work.
  • Assistance preparing State Revolving Fund Loan application.
  • Design-build-operate (DBO) contract document preparation.
  • Administration of the design-build (DB) contract during construction.
  • On-site over-site of work during construction and commissioning.
  • Contract administration services during the first year of operation.

Starting in 2017, the City's reactivated desalination plant produces 3,125 AFY of desalinated water, which is approximately one-third of the City's annual supply. Consistent with their Long-Term Water Supply Plan, the City will continue operating the plant as a drought-relief/drought-recovery facility, helping to restore reservoir and groundwater storage capacity.