Antioch building region's 1st desalination plant to increase fresh drinking water

With no end in sight to California's drought, one East Bay city is moving forward with plans for the region's first desalination plan .
With no end in sight to California's drought, one East Bay city is moving forward with plans for the region's first desalination plan. Photo credit Getty Images

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KCBS RADIO) - With no end in sight to California's drought, one East Bay city is moving forward with plans for the region's first desalination plant to increase its supply of drinking water.

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Antioch's water desalination plant will provide around 6 million gallons of drinkable water
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Located on the San Joaquin River, the city of Antioch has plenty of water but the problem is it's becoming too salty to drink due to the lack of precipitation.

"This year as a result of the drought we were only able to draw water from the river for 30 days, which is significantly less than we are typically able to do," John Samuelson Antioch's Public Works Director told KCBS Radio. "Last year with the drought we weren’t able to use our intake at all."

Samuelson said the $110 million desalination plant will turn brackish water from the San Joaquin River Delta into drinking water.

"Which will allow us to continue to draw water from the delta year-round and treat it to drinking water," he said.

Six-million gallons of potable water a day is about a third of the city's needs. He said with droughts becoming part of life in California more agencies will start to build these facilities.

"Once this plant is up and running I would expect to have even more interest from jurisdictions who are already considering building a facility like this for themselves," he explained

Desalination is energy-intensive, and getting rid of the left-over brine is always a challenge, but despite those drawbacks, The desalination plant may be the state's final option in a future with regular droughts.