California American Water has submitted a grant application to the California Department of Water Resources seeking $1 million to help fund the installation of a $3-million slant test well, which is needed for its proposed desalination project. The company is applying for the maximum amount the grant program allows for a pilot or test project.
The grant monies are available from Proposition 50, the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water and Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002. Utilities such as California American Water are eligible for the funding, which is designated to support projects that advance desalination as part of California’s water supply.
“This funding would help reduce costs to our customers,” said California American Water President Robert MacLean. “We have been tracking this opportunity for some time. I can’t imagine anyone has a better fit. If we are awarded this grant, it would fulfill the State’s objective and provide a direct benefit to the Monterey Peninsula community.”
California American Water is moving forward with the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project, a multi-sourced approach to solving the Monterey Peninsula’s perennial water shortage and reducing pumping from the Carmel River. The largest component of the project is a either a 6.4 or 9.6 million gallon per day desalination plant that would draw seawater from slant wells that are buried in the sand and extend beneath the ocean floor. Slant wells, also called subsurface intakes, are the preferred technology of California permitting agencies, including the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Coastal Commission. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently issued guidelines for desalination projects within the sanctuary and directed any project proponent to pursue subsurface intakes where feasible. The company is building a slant test well to determine the feasibility of the slant well construction techniques in addition to determining the quantity and quality of the source water that can be drawn from the well.