TRES SANTOS ACKNOWLEDGES that groundwater in Todos Santos is a finite and variable resource and that OOMSAPAS – the Municipality of La Paz’s public potable and sewage utility company – has infrastructure limitations. As such, we’ve concluded that the project’s long-term potable water requirements are best satisfied with potable water produced a desalination plants owned and operated by Tres Santos.
The first phase of the desalination plant and corresponding infrastructure is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016. As such, we needed to secure a provisional source of water for the Colorado State University Todos Santos Center and any other housing or retail spaces that are completed prior to the desalination water being available. Correspondingly, OOMSAPAS and Tres Santos have entered into agreements for the provision of potable and sewage water services to the first phase of the Town Farm.
When the initial phase of the desalination plant and the corresponding infrastructure required to pump potable water from the desalination plant to the Town Farm holding tank is completed, Tres Santos will no longer utilize potable water services from OOMSAPAS (with the exception of potential emergency back-up situations). We plan to be independent of OOMSAPAS for potable water by yearend 2016.
OOMSAPAS has agreed to provide Tres Santos with approximately 23,000 gallons per day of potable water and the corresponding sewage water services. OOMSAPAS has confirmed the availability of this volume of potable water. OOMSAPAS currently provides services to approximately 2,400 “hookups”. The 23,000 gallons of service represents approximately 72 homes or “hookups”.
These temporary potable water services are currently supplying the CSU Center with potable water. The excess supply will be utilized for providing provisional potable water services to the homes and retail currently being developed as part of the first phase of the Town Farm if required prior to completion of the desalination plant. We are not utilizing OOMSAPAS water for irrigation.
Tres Santos’ engineers worked closely with OOMSAPAS’s technical team to design the connection between OOMSAPAS infrastructure and Tres Santos infrastructure. In connection with this review, it was determined that OOMSAPAS’s local infrastructure did not have the ability to pressurize the Tres Santos water system. As such, Tres Santos constructed a water holding tank where OOMSAPAS supplies potable water. This system allows Tres Santos pumps to pressurize the Tres Santos water network without adversely affecting the OOMSAPAS infrastructure.
Recent comments made by a newly-appointed OOMSAPAS official about Tres Santos are inaccurate. Tres Santos paid a tap fee for 72 taps. However, Tres Santos only received one tap from OOMSAPAS. From that one tap, Tres Santos uses its infrastructure to transport water. The previous OOMSAPAS administration asked that we allow them to apply our overpayment toward our water usage fee and we agreed to that. Further, Tres Santos had a meter installed when it started using water. We have met with OOMSAPAS officials to clarify the misunderstanding and, among other documents, shared with them a dually signed contract that we entered into with OOMSAPAS on February 4, 2015.
Desalination is an increasingly common means of producing potable water in coastal areas with scarce groundwater resources. More than 14,000 desalination plants of all sizes operate in 100 countries around the world. However, desalination is not without its challenges. Desalination plants consume relatively large amounts of energy and therefore the potable water produced is relatively expensive. Additionally, desalination plants can have an adverse environmental impact. We’ve carefully designed our desalination system to minimize the environmental impact.
The Tres Santos desalination plant is a saltwater reverse osmosis system. Reverse osmosis is a water purification technology that uses an applied pressure and semipermeable membranes to separate salt from saltwater to create potable water. Saltwater reverse osmosis desalination has been commercially used since the early 1970s. In fact, the majority of the potable water available in Los Cabos is produced through saltwater reverse osmosis. Tres Santos has worked closely with qualified professional engineers and the Mexican Authorities, including SEMARNAT (The Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources) and CONAGUA (The National Water Commission), to design the desalination plant and related infrastructure. The desalination plant and infrastructure is being procured under a “design-build” contract with a Mexican engineering company that specializes in water treatment system engineering, construction and operation. This group has extensive experience in Mexico, including several private desalination plants used for resort operations in Los Cabos.
The desalination infrastructure has been approved by SEMARNAT, and we are currently procuring final permits for the construction of the first phase. The first phase desalination plant and infrastructure is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016. The first phase will have capacity to produce approximately 60,000 gallons per day. At full build out, the facility will have the capacity to produce approximately 800,000 gallons per day.
We are constructing two saltwater extraction wells to supply the desalination plants with water. These extraction wells are vertical subsurface wells that extract saltwater from deep beneath our ground. This saltwater extraction method has a minimal environmental impact because it eliminates the potential for marine life being killed by the intake. We’ve conducted extensive hydrological studies with professional engineers, in coordination with SEMARNAT and CONAGUA, to ensure that these extraction wells will not adversely affect the Todos Santos freshwater aquifer. These saltwater extraction wells will be built within Tres Santos’ private property at the Beach village (within the seawall) and are planned to be approximately 100 feet deep (subject to final specifications from CONAGUA).
After saltwater is extracted from vertical wells, it is filtered and pumped to the desalination plant. The desalination plant will be built within Tres Santos’ private property above the Beach village. At the desalination plant, water is pumped at high pressure through several layers of superfine semipermeable membranes where more than 95% of the salt and other dissolved minerals and contaminants are removed. Approximately 50% of the seawater input is recovered as freshwater. Finally the freshwater is treated with chlorine and other additives and pumped to a storage tank (or cistern) where it is available for distribution through the Tres Santos potable water network. The high-salinity brine byproduct of the desalination process is discharged deep into the ground by way of a subsurface injection well. This discharge method is designed to mitigate the environmental impact of directly discharging high-salinity brine directly back into the ocean. The injection well allows the brine to filter through the sand and dilute with the salty ground water before gradually dispersing through the seafloor. The injection well will be built within Tres Santos’ private property at the Beach village (within the seawall) and is planned to be approximately 100 feet deep (subject to final specifications from CONAGUA).
The power for the desalination plant and related infrastructure is planned to be supplied through the federal power utility company’s power grid. However, we are investigating renewable energy sources.
The desalination plant is intended to be a private utility for Tres Santos and we are not planning to use any public funds to build or operate this infrastructure. These improvements are being carried out within our private property and will not extend into any public beach areas. We will be executing these improvements in strict accordance with applicable laws and pursuant to our permits.
TRES SANTOS IS PLANNING to construct a sewage treatment plant to manage the sewage created by residents and guests of the Beach village. This sewage treatment plant will be located above the Beach village nearby the desalination plant. The plant will be constructed in modules such that it can be phased in over time as demand increases.
The sewage treatment plant is being procured under a “design-build” contract with a Mexican engineering company that specializes in water treatment system engineering, construction and operation. This group has extensive experience in Mexico, including several private sewage treatment plants used for resort operations in Los Cabos. This sewage treatment plant is intended to be a private utility for Tres Santos and we are not planning to use any public funds to build or operate this infrastructure. These improvements are being carried out within our private property. We will be executing these improvements in strict accordance with applicable laws and pursuant to our permits. Tres Santos plans to use the treated water for landscaping irrigation.
The water service agreement that Tres Santos executed with OOMSAPAS provides for the first phase of the Town Farm to utilize OOMSAPAS sewage treatment infrastructure. OOMSAPAS has confirmed the availability of capacity within its existing sewage treatment infrastructure; the existing sewage treatment plant is currently only processing approximately 66% of its maximum capacity (340,000 gallons per day). We’ve paid OOMSAPAS the statutory connection fees for access to this infrastructure and we will pay the statutory fees for usage over time. We are presently evaluating whether or not to continue utilizing OOMSAPAS infrastructure for sewage treatment at the Town Farm or to build a private sewage treatment plant under a similar plan as we are currently pursuing for the Beach village.