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By Daniel Ritz

On Nov. 15, South Coast Water District (SCWD) held its fifth and final Project Delivery Board Workshop. At the meeting, SCWD’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to move forward with SCWD General Manager Andrew Brunhart’s staff recommendation to proceed with planning using a district-owned delivery option.

This vote establishes, as stated in the staff report, that SCWD may “enter into some form of design-build-operate contract for the final design, construction of the facility, and operation and maintenance.”

A district-owned desalination project would allow SCWD to retain greater control over the project, access to upwards of $10 million dollars in grant money and a lower overall cost of water, including lower impact to ratepayers.

Board members from the Santa Margarita Water District were in attendance, and voiced their support of SCWD desalination plans.

South Coast Water District will move forward with selecting a planning option for a district-owned desalination project option. Plans outlined next steps as bringing in an expert third party legal firm by January 2018 and developing legal, commercial and technical contract documents within the next six months. Multiple staff and board workshops are to be held during this process. This presentation can be seen in full, and more information can be found on

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