Desal plant at Diablo Canyon to produce water for fighting fires

May 19, 2015

PG&E's Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant sits along the San Luis Obispo County coastline near Avila Beach.
Credit San Luis Obispo County

There will soon be a new source of water to fight wildfires on the Central Coast. The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Tuesday a contract with PG&E to purchase desalinated water produced out at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

Supervisor Adam Hill says the plant only uses about 40 percent of its production capacity, so some of that excess water can now be used in CAL FIRE tanker trucks.

Hill says the water is not potable so it's a good match for fighting fires. The 3rd District supervisor would also like to see some of that excess water pumped underground to help recharge the local aquifer, and hopes the program could follow a fast track given the current drought conditions.

"I don't know about this year because I do think we're probably going to have to look at a pipeline project of some kind," said Hill. "I think definitely within the next two years, if we can work out something, and a price structure that makes sense, and a project that makes sense, I think we can really make this happen."

Hill said he directed San Luis Obispo County staff to look into the costs associated with developing such a project.