Diablo Canyon desalination plant to help county fight wildfires

Agreement reached to provide water for emergency uses

May 20, 2015

AVILA BEACH, Calif.— Limited water supplies as a result of four years of drought have led to a water-sharing agreement between Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) Diablo Canyon Power Plant and San Luis Obispo County.


In a plan unanimously approved today by the County Board of Supervisors, Diablo Canyon will soon begin providing desalinated water produced at the plant site to the Office of Emergency Services to reduce the impact of using local water supplies to fight wildfires.


"The ongoing drought is only going to further intensify wildfire risk in our county, leading to the tapping of critical local water supplies to fight fires. At the same time, dry conditions brought on by the drought are already reducing the amount of water that is available to meet community needs and services. Using water from Diablo Canyon's desalination facility is a terrific solution to bridge this gap and to help meet an important community need," said Ed Halpin, Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer at PG&E.


Diablo Canyon Power Plant's desalination facility is one of the largest of its kind in the California. Using a process to remove salt from ocean water, the system produces fresh water to support plant operations and meet the drinking needs for plant employees.


The facility is able to desalinate water at a rate of more than 450 gallons per minute and is currently operating at 40 percent capacity to meet plant needs. PG&E is permitted by the state to produce nearly 1.5 million gallons of fresh water on a daily basis.


Through the five-year agreement, Diablo Canyon will provide excess water to the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services, who will determine how to transport the water to needed areas.


At today's meeting, the Board of Supervisors also directed staff to work with PG&E on a feasibility study on what steps would be involved to connect Diablo's desalination facility to existing water infrastructure.


"We live and work in this county, too, and ensuring its safety and well-being is our highest priority. We look forward to continue working with the county in identifying ways to provide further support during this ongoing water crisis," said PG&E's Halpin.


About Diablo Canyon Power Plant

Diablo Canyon Power Plant is a nuclear power facility owned and operated by PG&E. Its two units together produce approximately 2,300 net megawatts of carbon-free power. It provides nearly 10 percent of all electricity generated in California, and enough energy to meet the needs of more than three million Northern and Central Californians. Diablo Canyon has a $920 million annual local economic impact and is the largest private employer in San Luis Obispo County.


About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.