The Cambrian

Cambria water plant wins global recognition

A global water-industry publication firm has nominated Cambria’s emergency water supply project as one of four candidates for the 2015 Global Water Awards “Desalination Plant of the Year” designation. 

Global Water Intelligence (GWI) announced its short-list nominees in 10 categories recently. GWI produces a dozen or so water-industry publications that include Global Water 

Intelligence magazine, the Water Desalination Report newsletter, IDA “Desalination Yearbook, the website and in-depth market reports. For details, go to

The Cambria Community Services District project is the only brackish-water plant nominated in the desalination-plant category. The other three projects nominated in that category are seawater reverse-osmosis plants in Chile, Algeria and Saudi Arabia.

District General Manager Jerry Gruber said the nomination testifies to the project’s innovative nature and to the achievement of state and local agencies in bringing it online quickly. 

He said, “We are pleased to see a prestigious worldwide industry award program recognize the distinctive nature of this project, including its combination of water reuse and brackish-water treatment as well as its successful completion less than a year after the first round of funding was authorized.” 

In nominating the Cambria project, GWI said the fast-tracked construction of the project “is unprecedented in California” and “sets a new benchmark for what is achievable in the face of severe water stress.” 

The nomination also notes the project’s “unique mix of groundwater, brackish water and secondary treated effluent,” and it adds, “The high level of acceptance from local residents for what is ultimately an indirect potable reuse project conclusively demonstrates that Californians are willing to retain their pioneering spirit when faced with long odds.”

The nomination also said, “Although the city had looked at seawater desalination before, Governor (Jerry) Brown’s declaration of a drought emergency freed up the possibility of developing an alternative brackish water option, which was exempt from a burdensome environmental review process, enabling it to move ahead in record time.”

The awards are to be presented at the Global Water Summit on April 27 in Athens, Greece.