What is the SolRio project?

SolRio produces clean water using a process we call “solar osmosis”. The idea is to use solar energy to power an existing facility on the California coast to desalinate seawater via reverse osmosis. This new water will offset the water currently being pumped from the Colorado River to serve Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas, leaving more water available to meet the needs of inland Colorado River Basin users.

How does it work?

Solar power stations convert abundant Southwest sunshine into electricity. This electricity travels through the existing grid to power a large reverse osmosis desalination plant on the California coast. Water from this reverse osmosis is delivered to Diamond Valley Lake – the central distribution hub for Southern California water from the Colorado River. In drought years, SolRio water augments the Colorado River supply; in wet years, SolRio water is “banked” in the Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs.

How much solar energy is required?

Power to operate the SolRio project will be generated at multiple power stations. The combined area of these solar plants is 39 square miles.

How much water can SolRio produce?

SolRio will produce 1.3 million acre-feet of water per year. That’s enough water to fill an Olympic size swimming pool every 49 seconds!

Is SolRio a ‘big water project’?

Yes. SolRio is a serious, large-scale water project. SolRio will produce and deliver enough new, clean water to offset the over-allocation of the Colorado River water and ensure water security for Colorado River Basin users. While SolRio is an ambitious undertaking, it is similar in scale to other water projects that have sustained vibrant growth and prosperity for our region. SolRio doesn’t just move water around – it creates new, clean drinking water on the scale needed to solve our long term water needs.