City Groundwater Desalter Project
For nearly two decades, groundwater quality in the northern portion of the Pleasant Valley Groundwater Basin in Ventura County continuously declined due to infiltration of poor quality surface water. The significant decline in water quality forced the City of Camarillo to reduce groundwater pumping and increase imported water use.
The North Pleasant Valley Desalter Facility project (Project) will treat 4,500 acre feet a year (AFY) of groundwater contaminated by salts from the northern portion of the Basin and yield up to 3,800 AFY of drinking water using Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. The project will allow the City to reduce its dependence on imported State Water Project (SWP) water and increase groundwater pumping. The salts removed from the water through RO treatment will be disposed of through an existing brine pipeline and outfall in Port Hueneme.
Imported water makes up 60 percent of the City’s current water supply and local groundwater makes up the remaining 40 percent. The Project will enable the City to more than double the current local water supply production. Without the Project, the City may become increasingly reliant on imported water due to the spread of poor quality groundwater which could cause City wells to be shut down.
The City is currently going through the process of purchasing and annexing the property for the Project site, preparing CEQA documents, submitting grant applications, and beginning the design phase for the facility. The final design is anticipated to be complete by Fall 2018 with construction slated to start in late 2018. The facility is expected to be operational in Spring 2020.The City received nearly $5 million in Proposition 84 grant funding and is pursuing more than $17 million in additional Local, State and Federal grants for the Project, which will cost approximately $30 million. The City has sufficient reserve money from current water rates available for the remaining Project expenses. When completed, the Project will provide customers with water at more stable rates and minimize reliance on purchased imported water.