Santa Barbara, CA Makes Use of Best Technology With Hendrick's Water Intake Screen

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To tackle a dwindling water supply, the City of Santa Barbara, CA proposed the reactivation of the Charles D. Meyer Desalination Plant that was placed in stand-by mode and had not operated for more than 20 years.  Concerns arose surrounding the environmental impacts that the plant’s reopening would create, including the destruction of marine life through the use of the existing flat panel intake that was part of the plant’s original design.

A feasibility study was initiated for the plant’s reopening.  Technology improvements were recognized since the plant’s original design in the early 1990s. To address the environmental impact at the source of water withdrawal, the State Water Resources Control Board recognized wedge wire water intake screens as the best available technology for ocean intake methods.  The board decided to proceed with this technology to upgrade their system, which satisfied the Regional Water Quality Control Board that the City of Santa Barbara went above and beyond the requirement for their NPDES permit to reopen the plant.

The city of Santa Barbara awarded the construction of water intake screens to Hendrick Screen.  Based on the requirements from the city, the environmental conditions, and water flow rates, Hendrick custom designed four wedge wire water intake screens, two for each of their existing pump structures.

Hendrick Water Intake Being Installed by city of Santa Barbara, CA 
Workers prepare to install the water intake 2500 ft. from the ocean shoreline. 
Photo provided by the City of Santa Barbara, Public Works

In addition to the intake screen design, the screens were built using a durable copper-nickel alloy since the screens would be installed in saltwater.  This increased the corrosion resistance of the material, thus providing a longer operational life to the screens.

Today, Hendrick’s water intake screens are fully operational at the Santa Barbara desalination plant.  Entrainment rates have decreased with the use of Hendrick’s water intakes, easing environmental concerns.  For Santa Barbara, all the changes made to update the desalination plant were successful and touted as a state-of-the-art system, including Hendrick’s wedge wire water intake screens.


Hendrick built the water intake using Copper-Nickel to improve corrosion resistance.
Photo provided by the City of Santa Barbara, Public Works

Quick Water Intake Facts

Project Location: Charles D. Meyer Desalination Plant, Santa Barbara, CA

Installation Date: March, 2017

Number of Intakes Screens: Four, two for each of the existing pumps

Screen Size: 36” OD x 152” overall length

Screen Opening Size: One millimeter

Intake Screen Material: Copper Nickel

Flow Rate: 12K GPM

Installation Environment: Open ocean, sandy bottom, average depth is ~15-below MSL, turbidity is generally < 10 NTU

Installation Location: 2500 ft. from the ocean shoreline


The 152-inch-long water intake screen ready to be submerged.
Photo provided by the City of Santa Barbara, Public Works

Design Benefits

  • Best available technology for its intended purpose
  • Satisfied the Regional Water Quality Control Board for their NPDES permit renewal
  • Improved community relations for marine life environmental enhancement
  • Copper-nickel material is corrosion resistant, increasing service life

Let Hendrick help you design a water intake screen for your project.  Contact us today!