TIJUANA — A New York City-based company working with two Mexican partners has launched construction of an ocean water desalination plant in the agricultural region of San Quintin some 160 miles from the San Diego border.
Scheduled to open in the summer of 2017, the plant would provide 5.8 million gallons of water daily to more than 100,000 residents of the region.
The cost of the project is about $32 million at current exchange rates. It is the first to be approved under Baja California’s new public-private partnership law.
The financing and construction of the facility is being carried out by a consortium made up of RWL Water Group and two Mexican partners, Libra Ingenieros Civiles and R.J. Ingenieria. Under the agreement, the group would operate the plant for 30 years.
RWL Water’s founder and chairman is Ronald S. Lauder, a former U.S. ambassador to Austria who also served as the president of the World Jewish Congress.
San Quintin is an important agricultural region that specializes in export-oriented produce, such as strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers. But unlike other areas of Baja California, it does not receive water from the Colorado River and has struggled with a limited water supply.
The future facility, located in the fishing community of La Chorera, is one of two desalination plants now under construction in Baja California. A similar-sized reverse-osmosis plant in the port city of Ensenada is scheduled for opening in April 2017.
The state of Baja California also has been pursuing the possibility of a public-private partnership to build a third desalination plant with a capacity for 100 million gallons a day, with the possibility of selling some of that water to U.S. consumers.
La Chorrera, San Quintin, Baja California http://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/