Claude "Bud" Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant.
Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant is named after a former Carlsbad mayor. Photo via

Water production at the Carlsbad desalination plan has been temporarily reduced to conserve power while the heat wave stresses California’s electric grid.

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which can produce up to 50 million gallons per day, typically accounts for about 1% of peak electricity demand in San Diego Gas & Electric’s service area.

The San Diego County Water Authority and the plant owners announced a reduction of water production by about 20% for three days beginning Sunday. Regular water deliveries will be made from other sources. 

“Desal plant operations are nimble, so production can be ramped up and down in response to local needs,” said Sandra L. Kerl, general manager of the Water Authority. “This flexibility underscores the value of regional water supply planning, which allows us to activate solutions during challenging times.” 

Reducing water production will free up 9 megawatts, enough to power several thousand homes.

The Water Authority also is running its Lake Hodges Pumped Storage Facilities to generate 20 megawatts of on-demand power, helping meet peak demand during the heat wave.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.