Santa Barbara almost ready to start water desalination plant

After months of delays, Santa Barbara is preparing to flip the switch on its revamped Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant and send potable water from the facility into the city’s distribution system.

The plant will provide 3,125 acre-feet of water a year — or about a third of the city’s water supply needs — with the potential to eventually expand up to 10,000 acre-feet.

An acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons, or enough water to cover an acre of land at about a foot deep. A typical household uses around half of an acre-foot in a year.

“It’s so close — it could be any day,” said Kelley Dyer, the city’s water supply manager.

Major construction has finished, and seawater has been circulating through the Yanonali Street plant as workers fine-tune its components. The state permit to operate it came May 2.

Water resources manager Joshua Haggmark cautioned that all parts of the plant have to demonstrate that they’re operating together perfectly before the plant can come online. The city and state also have to be comfortable with the desalinated water’s…

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