Santa Barbara Desal Plant now operating in city's water system

May 31, 2017
Plant is now distributing desalinated water into the City's water system utilizing IDE's reverse osmosis technology.
Exceptional drought conditions demand exceptional thinking, and in July 2015 the City of Santa Barbara decided to reactivate the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant. This plant had been in long-term standby mode since 1991, so significant engineering was required to bring the plant online to provide a significant contribution to the city's water needs and overcome the constant threat of drought. Photo: IDE.

SANTA BARBARA, CA, MAY 31, 2017 -- IDE Technologies, a world leader in water treatment solutions technology, today announced that it has completed the reactivation of the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Facility with the City of Santa Barbara, Calif. The plant will produce nearly 3.0 MGD (million gallons per day) to meet 30 percent of the City's demand. The City selected IDE to design, build and operate the desalination plant as part of the City's overall strategy to develop a more diverse water portfolio to ensure the community has an ample supply of safe drinking water.

The plant uses Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) to deliver consistent, high-quality water to the City of Santa Barbara. Seawater enters the desalination facility from 2,500 feet offshore, passing through ocean intake pipes equipped with wedge wire screens -- recognized by the State Water Resources Control Board as the best solution for screened open ocean intakes. Once on shore, the seawater passes through a pretreatment system, which filters out suspended matter and colloids that occur naturally in seawater, such as silt, algae, bacteria and plankton, and then flows through SWRO membranes to separate the dissolved salts in the seawater.

VIDEO: San Diego Diversifies Water Portfolio with Desalination

"Desalination is a key step in the City efforts to build water supply resiliency through diversification," said Joshua Haggmark, the City of Santa Barbara's Water Resources Manager. "The desalination plant's design includes high-efficiency pumps and motors that reduce the plant's overall electrical demands by 40 percent compared to the last plant. Restarting this plant puts the City in a position to better manage water shortages through a more diversified supply mix. The City's water supply portfolio includes local surface water, state water, groundwater, recycled water, water conservation, and now desalinated water."

"Our advanced desalination technology and engineering expertise has made the Santa Barbara desalination facility more energy-efficient and the water supply more affordable," said Gilad Cohen, CEO of IDE Americas. "The drinking water produced by the plant allows the City to meet its water requirement while utilizing natural sources alongside continued conservation efforts. We're excited to be partners in this important step to secure California's drought-proof water supply and serve the City of Santa Barbara."

About IDE Technologies
A world leader in water treatment solutions, IDE specializes in the development, engineering, construction and operation of some of the world's largest and most advanced thermal and membrane desalination facilities and industrial water treatment plants. IDE partners with a wide range of customers -- municipalities, oil & gas, mining, refineries and power plants -- on all aspects of water projects, and delivers approximately 3 million m3/day of high quality water worldwide. For more information, visit

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