San Diego board approves desalination plant

A plan by a private company to build a $320-million desalination plant along the coast of northern San Diego County was unanimously approved Wednesday by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Proponents say the plan could provide more than 56,000 acre-feet of drinkable water by 2012, enough to satisfy the needs of more than 100,000 families. Connecticut-based Poseidon Resources has been planning the project for a decade and has been navigating the complex permit process for five years.

But environmentalist activists, who believe the project would harm the coastal environment, plan to appeal to the State Water Resources Control Board and to continue at least three lawsuits aimed at blocking the project.

Under the plan, the plant would be built next to the Encina power plant in Carlsbad.