In 2014, the Santa Barbara City Council directed staff to report back on a plan to evaluate the feasibility of subsurface desalination intake and potable reuse. The feasibility studies are now being developed to satisfy the requirements of the City’s amended Waste Discharge Requirements for the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant. The alternative evaluations will provide useful information for a future update to the City’s Long Term Water Supply Plan, which will evaluate feasible alternatives considered in this study.
In 2015, the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) formed a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) on behalf of the City of Santa Barbara to provide expert peer review of the technical, scientific, and regulatory aspects of both the Subsurface Desalination Intake Feasibility Study and Potable Reuse Feasibility Study. Specifically, the TAP will review the works products (i.e., draft work plan, technical memos, reports, etc.) associated with each of these studies and consider public comments on these efforts. The TAP will also consider findings from other completed or ongoing similar efforts to develop the most informed recommendations.
Heal the Ocean has been an active participant in TAP meetings, advocating for potable reuse as an alternative to desalination.
More information on TAP, including upcoming public meetings and technical memoranda, can be found at http://www.nwri-usa.org/santa-barbara-panel.htm.