Water Is A Human Right In California

Poseidon’s desalination plant will make water less affordable and accessible for Orange County residents and businesses.

The UCLA Luskin School of Innovation reviewed the Poseidon project and concluded:  

“…the Poseidon agreement will likely make drinking water for disadvantaged households in Orange County moderately to severely less affordable. It would yield no offsetting HRW (Human Right to Water) benefits as compared to the continued pursuit of alternative local water supplies and demand management options which have historically proven to be more efficient and affordable.”

In California, the human right to water rests on four pillars:





California passed legislation in 2012 recognizing  that “every human has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.”

Governor Newsom should oppose the Poseidon project because it conflicts with the Human Right to Water for Orange County residents. 


Affordability & Accessibility

The Poseidon Huntington Beach Desalination Plant would disproportionately harm low-income residents who can’t afford the water rate increases needed to pay for this excessively expensive $1.4 billion project.

Our Communities Can’t Afford It

Low-income families and senior citizens don’t have more money to spend on water. With higher water bills come more shut offs. When water is too expensive, fewer Californians have access to that water.

We Have Better Options

This is the most expensive, environmentally damaging, and energy-intensive water we can source. We need to support cheaper water alternatives like water recycling and better conservation strategies.

“While Poseidon has spent millions trying to sell its desalination cash cows, many communities have forged ahead with smart water supply solutions that save money and energy… Hard working ratepayers in Orange County should not have to foot the bill for this billion-dollar boondoggle.” —Marcela Gutierrez-Graudins, Azul

“Low-income families across California during the drought were the ones to conserve the most. They were hit the hardest. They cut back the most. Now we increase the cost of water to them…It doesn’t make sense.”
Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board Chair, William Ruh

Additional Resources

Letter to the Orange County Democratic Party Environmental Justice Subcommittee
12 Equity and Environmental Organizations, June 2020

Environmental Justice Analysis: Analyzing Southern California Supply Investments from a Human Right to Water Perspective
UCLA Luskin Center, April 2019

Environmental and equity opposition letter 
Coalition of 24 nonprofit and community groups, April 2019

Summary of MWDOC Reliability Study
Orange County Coastkeeper, March 2019

Comments on OCWD Term Sheet for Proposed Poseidon Desalination Plant
Orange County Coastkeeper, June 2018

Testimony on Poseidon proposal at State Lands Commission hearing
Surfrider Foundation, August 2017

Testimony on Poseidon proposal at State Lands Commission hearing
Azul, August 2017

Environmental and Equity Group Opposition Letter (PDF)
27 Nonprofit and Community Organizations, July 2017

Environmental justice concerns on the Huntington Beach plant (PDF)
Eight Equity Leaders and Organizers, July 2017