California island upgrades desalination for freshwater supply

Sept. 2, 2015

The GE expansion will increase the facility’s production capacity from 200,000 to 350,000 gallons of water per day.

SAN DIEGO — Aug. 31, 2015 — GE’s desalination technology will be used in an expansion of Southern California Edison’s (SCE) desalination plant on Catalina Island, according to a press release.

The island, located in the Pacific Ocean 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, may soon face a mandatory 50 cutback in water usage, noted the release. The plant’s expansion to help convert seawater into drinking water will help ease the shortage.

SCE will use GE’s seawater reverse osmosis system in the project, stated the release. The system is designed for quick, simple installation, and will be operational in September.

"Our residents and businesses have already made substantial water usage cutbacks to help conserve this precious resource during the drought," said Ben Harvey, city manager for the city of Avalon in California, in the release. "The new desalination unit will significantly increase our freshwater supply and hopefully stave off additional water usage restrictions."

Local wells are supplemented by the desalination plant to supply the island with water, reported the release. The GE expansion will increase the facility’s production capacity from 200,000 to 350,000 gallons of water per day.

"Even an island in the Pacific Ocean can experience a severe drought," explained Yuvbir Singh, general manager, engineered systems — water and process technologies for GE Power & Water, in the release. "Catalina Island has an immediate and urgent need for additional fresh water. The GE SeaTech-84 seawater RO desalination system is a smart choice for Catalina Island due to its fast delivery and set up so that the island can begin using the additional fresh drinking water during the summer tourist season."

The island is a popular tourist destination, attracted 700,000 visitors annually, shared the release. The 22-mile-long, 8-mile-wide island has more than 4,000 residents.

Click here to read the entire release.

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