The name of another investor has emerged in a proposal to build a large seawater desalination plant in Rosarito Beach.

The Union-Tribune reported today that Victor Vilaplana, a local attorney and former Port Commission board member, is an investor in a company that has proposed the plant.

Officials with the Otay Water District, which wants to buy water from the plant, initially refused to tell us who was involved in the company, Norte Sur Agua.

The newspaper filled in some blanks:

The principal investor is Gough Thompson Jr., a Rancho Santa Fe resident and a former consultant who advised large corporations such as Hyundai and in the Middle East on desalination efforts. …

Vilaplana and Thompson declined to disclose the names of the Mexican investors.

“At some point, we might be able to disclose those, but there are a number of issues, including safety concerns,” Vilaplana said. “What we can say is that NSC Agua is a private company, we have a board of directors that meets regularly, and this is a privately funded project.”

Both Thompson and Vilaplana said that none of the board members have financial ties to any Otay officials.

That claim is impossible to verify if they won’t say who those board members are. As I’ve written before:

The result is a shroud of secrecy blanketing a proposal that could enable the United States to tap Mexico’s ocean as a water source for the first time.

Rob Davis is a senior reporter at You can contact him directly at or 619.325.0529.

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Rob Davis was formerly a senior reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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