September 27, 2022

As California runs out of water, commission poised to vote on whether to allow another expensive desalinization plant

3 min read

Poseidon Water, which has been trying to build the plant for decades, says it has the capacity to produce 50 million gallons of drinking water a day, which will help the region avoid drought.

But opponents of desalination say less expensive and less harmful security tactics should be the first tactic.

Responsible for “protecting and enhancing” the state’s vast coastline, the California Coastal Commission is a 12-member agency appointed or elected by state legislators and governors. Prior to the vote, its staff recommended that the facility, which includes partial de-salinization of the incredible energy consumption, its impact on marine life, rising sea levels and the resulting water Price indicated.

Commission staff acknowledged in the report that its findings do not mean the plan is “unacceptable”, nor is it entirely against desalination, writes: “Staff in Southern California Recognizes the need to develop reliable sources, and believes that well-planned and on-site cleanup facilities will potentially contribute to the delivery of these supplies. “

Desalination works by separating water molecules from saltwater seawater through reverse osmosis. More salty water is sent back to the sea.

A plant of this scale – the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant in San Diego County – is already in service. Poseidon began operating the facility in late 2015, selling its entire production to the San Diego County Water Authority under a 30-year contract.

If Poseidon does not get the permit this time, the Huntington Beach project will be submerged.

“We’ve complied with every requirement in the Coastal Development Act, and we’re bringing flexible, high-quality water to a new climate for extremely thirsty California,” Jessica Jones, Poseidon’s director of communications, told CNN. Told “Thursday’s decision will send a strong, strong message to everyone who wants to build a seawater treatment plant or a new water supply in California.”

An aerial view of the Huntington Beach Wetlands and Huntington Beach Energy Center - the proposed site of the Poseidon desalination plant.
Scientists reported earlier this year that the West’s current Mega drought Worst in at least 1,200 years. Residents of Southern California. Already seeing unprecedented water restrictions before summer.

Government Gavin Newsom has expressed support for the plant’s construction, challenging California’s prolonged drought and water shortages. He recently told the Bay Area News Group’s editorial board, “What more evidence do you need than that you need to have more tools in the toolkit than we’ve experienced in the last 10 years?” There has been a severe drought in seven. “

But those opposed to the desalination plant say there are other ways to combat the drought.

California's two largest reservoirs are already at

On its website dedicated to the fight against the Huntington Beach plant, the non-profit Surfrieder Foundation indicates that the project does not require the water that will be supplied, and calls the potential plant a “waste of money.” ۔

In fact, research by Pacific Institute, a water-focused think tank, With current and advanced technology, California can reduce its urban water use by 30 to 48 percent. In its most recent report, the institute argued that “water performance opportunities can be found across the state but are highest in the hydrologic region of the South Coast.” He pointed to solutions that cost far less than desalination, including recycling wastewater and catching stormwater – which accounted for about two-thirds of the region’s potential water savings. Comes from the residential sector.

“Cleaning seawater is one of the most expensive water supply options,” Heather Coley, director of research at the Pacific Institute, told CNN. “From a cost point of view, from an environmental point of view, from an energy point of view, these other alternatives are the most significant for California first.”

Despite the fact that most of the western United States is experiencing unprecedented drought conditions, Poseidon’s Jones says the Huntington Beach desalination plant has already put pressure on the water resources of the sprawling Colorado River Basin and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It will create more supply throughout the region.

“Creating a new local water supply to the coast will not only benefit Orange County residents, but also reduce the pressure on the imported water supply,” Jones said. “We need to see the big picture here, not just for California, but for all the states in the West.”

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