Desalination plant is selling a bill of goods -- and O.C. water users would pay the price
Poseidon Resources recently made another move in their attempt to build the environmentally destructive Poseidon Huntington Beach Desalination Plant. If built, this plant will increase energy use and greenhouse gasses, degrade water quality and fish stocks and privatize part of our water supply.
Since there's no demand for this environmentally and economically harmful way to extract water, Poseidon has not been able to find willing buyers.
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Enter the Orange County Water District (OCWD), which was approached by Poseidon to purchase the desalination plant's full capacity of water. The board also agreed to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding the project's finances. This decision is a desperation move by Poseidon because all but one of the local cities and water suppliers in Orange County have rejected the idea of purchasing its desalinated water. And without customers they have no way to build the project.
Still, in late July, the water district instructed its staff to prepare reports on the feasibility of such a plan in anticipation of a vote by the board. Essentially Poseidon is making an end run around other local water suppliers and cities which have already rejected buying this water by attempting to have the OCWD, which is a groundwater agency, act as the middleman. The district's involvement would force their water purchase on cities and smaller water suppliers.
Amazingly, the OCWD board approved looking into this idea -- even after its staff noted that buying desalinated water would have an economic impact on their operation and raise local rates by at least 7%.
This new move also is a key part of their strategy to gain approval from the Coastal Commission and State Water Board for the desalination plant. If the OCWD agreed to purchase all of the water from the plant, Poseidon can tell state authorities that the full capacity of their project has been spoken for -- greatly enhancing their chance of getting a Coastal Development Permit to build the plant and influencing the State Water Board's Desalination Policy that's currently in the works.
Thousands of you signed on to an Angeles Chapter petition that tells the Coastal Commission to reject the desalination plant. Now we need more signatures on new petitions to be sent to the Orange County Water District and Gov. Jerry Brown.