Extracting and desalting groundwater that has been impacted by seawater intrusion could create a new source of water supply, reducing the region’s dependence on groundwater. SVBGSA is preparing a feasibility study to evaluate whether this type of program in the seawater-intruded areas of the Salinas Valley would slow or reverse the eastward inland migration of seawater intrusion and provide a new drought proof water supply to the region.Diagram of the Extraction Barrier

The project concept would be to construct a series of extraction wells that would pump brackish, saline groundwater to a desalter treatment facility. The treatment facility would utilize reverse osmosis technology to produce high quality water that could be delivered to groundwater users in the region to offset groundwater pumping that contributes to seawater intrusion. 

The feasibility study will look at whether this concept would improve groundwater sustainability by drawing brackish saline water towards the coast thereby improving groundwater quality and reducing the area impacted by seawater intrusion. It will also evaluate options for locating and operating an extraction barrier well field, identify potential locations for treatment facilities and distribution infrastructure, and assess how the water could be utilized after desalting. The brackish water extracted could be treated and used for both municipal and irrigation purposes.