San Diego County is a semiarid region with limited local water resources, relatively small aquifers and no major rivers. In recent decades, the County has relied on imported water from Northern California and the Colorado River to meet more than 80 percent of its water needs.
The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant is an important component of the San Diego County Water Authority’s long-term strategy to improve the region’s water supply reliability by diversifying its supply resources. This strategy has allowed the region to reduce its dependence on imported water sources that are vulnerable to droughts, natural disasters and regulatory restrictions.
Today, the plant accounts for about one-third of all water generated in the County. Each day, the plant delivers nearly 50 million gallons of fresh, desalinated water to San Diego County – enough to serve approximately 400,000 people.