Carlsbad Desalination Plant (CA, USA)

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GHD in collaboration with Butier Engineering were selected by Poseidon Resources to provide Owner's Engineering services for the development, construction and commissioning of the 50 MGD Carlsbad Seawater Desalination project. 

As Owner’s Engineer, GHD and Butier have and continue to provide general oversight and independent assessment of the performance of the Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) Contractor relative to the delivery of the Carlsbad project.

Poseidon selected the team based on a combination of their technical capabilities and past experience in regard to large scale seawater desalination and intimate knowledge of the Southern California water infrastructure market.

Some of the Owner's Engineering tasks completed to date by GHD include:

  • Project and site coordination activities
  • Scope Book and Specification reviews
  • Drawing and Design reviews
  • Materials / durability / asset life review
  • Consultation with local authorities and utilities
  • General project management and technical assistance to the client

Once completed and operational, this plant will provide approximately 10% of the water demand for San Diego County. 

“All the product water will be sold to the San Diego County Water Authority under a 30-year, fixed price water purchase agreement.  The San Diego County Water Authority provides wholesale water to cities and municipal water agencies throughout San Diego County.”  

This plant will be the first of its size on the west coast of the United States. The facility will be a model for other desalination projects needed by the State of California in its search to diversify drinking water supplies.



Major water shortages are being encountered around the world in both developed and developing nations. Desalination offers a reliable source of water supply that is not climate dependent. As a result, many utilities throughout the world are turning to desalination to improve the security of their water supplies and to avoid major social and economic disruption.

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As the world’s population grows and our standards of living improve so does our need to manage the water in our environment. We need to maximise its application for human well-being and minimise impact on the environment. GHD engineers, scientists and planners can provide sustainable, cost-effective and innovative water solutions.  We assist water utilities and others who provide water services to optimise infrastructure and adapt to environmental changes in ways that balance the needs of our communities. And we enable clients to meet compliance, improve profitability and maintain their commitment to sustainability.

GHD continually expands the boundaries by engaging in research, enhancing existing systems and strategies, evaluating new procedures and transferring technology from other industries into the water industry. We work with our clients through all project stages planning, investigation, design, delivery, operation and renewal.

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