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CAL FIRE may use desalinated water from Diablo Canyon Power Plan - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

CAL FIRE may use desalinated water from Diablo Canyon Power Plant to fight fires

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The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors may approve a contract Tuesday that would provide CAL FIRE with desalinated water for emergency use.

San Luis Obispo County CAL FIRE Chief Robert Lewin says the agency's water supply is threatened by the drought, but they are pulling together all available water resources to make sure it's not an issue when a big fire comes along.

One of those available water alternatives is the desal plant at Diablo Canyon Power Plant. PG&E officials tell KSBY the plant is providing more water than it needs.

On Tuesday, the Board is expected to approve a water sale agreement with PG&E.

"It allows us to purchase desalinated water, treated water, that is not drinking water," said San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill. "This will allow us to fill up the tanker truck that CAL FIRE uses in order for us to fight fires."

Hill estimates using water from Diablo Canyon for emergency services will cost about $1,000 per acre-foot, which has been budgeted.

"We are not getting water, we are not getting rain, so this is making water," said Hill.

He would ultimately like to use the water for more than just fire emergencies.

"We want to figure out how we can buy that water and put it into our aquifers so we can deal with some of the issues that we have," said Hill. "Everybody is conserving and doing what they can but one of the things that needs to be done is making new water and this is one of the ways to get there, desal."

Hill said there are still some logistics to work out, including finding out if there are existing pipelines or if new ones will have to be built, how much that would cost, and how they can use the water to fill San Luis Obispo County aquifers.

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will meet Tuesday, May 19 at 9:00 a.m.

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