In early September, California American Water Company (CAW) was awarded a $1 million grant by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) from Proposition 50’s Round 3 Water Desalination Grant Program. California voters passed Proposition 50 in 2002 allocating not less than $50 million in grants for brackish water and ocean water desalination projects “in furtherance of water desalination as a viable water supply to meet California’s need,” according to the award letter.

Of the $11.7 million requested from 12 proposals, DWR allocated $8.7 million to eight projects. CAW will use the funding for the installation of a slant test well estimated to cost $4 million at its Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project. The pilot project is intended to prove the feasibility of slant wells for desalination projects as well as the quantity and quality of water that can be drawn from slant wells. The grant requires CAW to provide DWR with pilot study results and documents summarizing the test well construction.

The Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project is one of several approaches CAW is undertaking to solve Monterey Peninsula’s chronic water shortage and comply with the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) mandate to reduce pumping from the Carmel River. A desalination plant, the main component of the project, will draw seawater from the slant well buried in the sand that extends beneath the ocean floor. Also referred to as “subsurface intakes,” slant wells are the preferred technology of several state agencies, including the SWRCB and the California Coastal Commission.

“This award provides a direct financial benefit to our customers,” said CAW President Robert MacLean in a recent press release. “The test well project is not only important for the future of the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply, it also tests technology, which is critical to the future of desalination as an alternative water source for our state.”

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