SAN DIEGO (CBS/AP) — Water officials in San Diego County are one step closer to providing the public with drinking water from the ocean.

KNX 1070’s Tom Reopelle reports the San Diego County Water Authority announced Thursday that it’s reached an agreement with a private company to buy enough water from a proposed desalination plant to supply 112,000 homes.

If approved this fall pending a public review, the 30-year deal would be a major milestone for the region, according to Bob Yamata, Water Resources Manager for the San Diego County Water Authority.

“The plan, if it’s approved by the Water Authority Board of Directors and constructed, would be the largest seawater desalination plant in the western hemisphere,” said Yamata.

The plant could start producing in 2016 and by 2020 could provide 8 percent of the region’s water — although the cost could be double that of conventional sources.

The water authority currently obtains most of its water from a single source and has been trying to diversify.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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