Santa Barbara to spend $55 million on desalination plant as drought ‘last resort’


Courtesy of: Matt Hamilton | Los Angeles Times

Santa Barbara City Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved spending $55 million to reactivate a mothballed desalination plant that could provide the city with nearly a third of its drinking water. The Charles E. Meyer Desalination Facility was built during a drought in the 1990s but closed in 1992 when desperation for water subsided. The plant was never utilized beyond a testing period, but the city maintained it in the event that a severe water shortage might once again threaten the city.

“Desalination has been a last resort,” Mayor Helene Schneider told The Times Tuesday night after the vote. “The way the drought has continued these last four years, we are really getting at that last resort.”

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