The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $170 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to Poseidon Resources in San Diego County, California, to support its Carlsbad Desalination Plant Intake Modification and Wetlands Project, which will help provide sustainable access to drinking water and protect local coastal wetlands.
“Diversifying and stretching precious water supplies is essential in the water scarce West,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Our WIFIA loan to Poseidon Resources in San Diego County will be used for both upgrading the drinking water desalination plant to help address water shortages, stretch precious water supplies, and protect critical marine habitats in the San Diego Bay.”
The Carlsbad Desalination Plant provides approximately 10% of the San Diego County region’s water supply. The plant was opened in 2015 as a public-private partnership with Poseidon Resources and the San Diego County Water Authority and currently requires significant upgrades to add a new intake facility to comply with the State of California’s oceanwater intake regulations and ensure the plant’s continued operation.
The $170 million WIFIA loan will also support the restoration of approximately 125 acres of coastal wetlands on the San Diego Bay to provide habitat for native plants and wildlife, including endangered species, migratory seabirds, and shorebirds.
“Poseidon Resources is excited about its partnership with the EPA as we embark on a modernization of the intake system at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant and creation of 125 acres of coastal wetlands,” said President of Poseidon Resources Sachin Chawla. “We appreciate the EPA’s financial support through a low-cost WIFIA loan.”
Poseidon Resources’ financing package is composed of $160 million in tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds from the State of California and $170 million in WIFIA’s low-cost credit support, and it’s saving San Diego County Water Authority and local ratepayers significantly compared to alternative financing approaches — with WIFIA financing alone saving ratepayers $54 million.