Rainbow Water authorizes grant application for brackish water desalination

The Rainbow Municipal Water District will be seeking a grant from the state Department of Water Resources for a feasibility study on brackish groundwater desalination in the Bonsall Basin of the San Luis Rey River.

The water district board voted 5-0, Aug. 22, to approve the application of a grant to DWR along with execution of any agreement if the grant is approved. The grant would offset the cost of the Bonsall Basin desalination feasibility study.

“We think we’re in good shape to hopefully receive these funds,” Rainbow general manager Tom Kennedy said.

The Department of Water Resources provides grants for the planning, design and construction of brackish water or seawater desalination facilities. In November 2014, the state’s voters passed Proposition 1 which provided $725 million for grants or loans for water recycling and advanced treatment programs, including desalination projects which were allocated $100 million of that funding. Up to $700,000 per grant can be given for feasibility studies, and the local agency is required to provide a 50 percent funding match.

Rainbow is currently in the feasibility and planning stages of the brackish desalination project which would provide a local supply to reduce the district’s dependence on water imported from the San Diego County Water Authority.

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