A plan to provide the San Diego area with drinking water made from seawater has cleared a major hurdle.
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.
The 30-year deal will have a public review and could be approved this fall.
Having a buyer allows Poseidon Resources to obtain financing to build the Carlsbad plant and a 10-mile-long delivery pipeline.
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.