Take Action: Oppose Costly Desalination in Orange County

The proposed Poseidon desalination plant will dramatically increase the cost of water, lower the water quality in our shared aquifer, and set back California’s efforts to preserve the coast and reduce CO2 emissions. Help us oppose it.

To: Orange County Water District,

Ratepayers, water experts, and local leaders are urging you to say NO to the proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach. The plant would dramatically increase the cost of water, lower the water quality in our shared aquifer, and set back California’s efforts to preserve the coast and reduce CO2 emissions. Scientists and water experts agree that desalination should be our last resort in meeting our water needs.

We oppose the Poseidon project because:

It will increase water bills for decades by forcing ratepayers to pay for a billion-dollar, privately-owned desal plant and committing them to higher water rates.

It will diminish the water quality in our shared aquifer, adding boron and chlorides and forcing everyone to pay extra for expensive treatment if they want clean water.

Desal requires excessive amounts of energy at a time when California is working to maximize energy sustainability and kick our fossil fuel habit. Additionally, desalination will damage our local ecosystem.

We urge you to stand with ratepayers, water experts, and local leaders and reject the proposed Poseidon desalination plant.

Top 6 Reasons We Oppose Desal In Orange County

In Huntington Beach, Poseidon Resources – owned by global developer Brookfield Infrastructure Partners – is proposing a billion dollar desalination plant. The plant would require local ratepayers to buy 50 million gallons of water per day, whether they need it or not, at a cost twice that of imported water and four times higher than stormwater capture. Over the last 15 years, Poseidon has spent over $1.6 million lobbying for the project, and still does not have a buyer. Here are six major problems with Poseidon’s proposal:

1. We Don’t Need the Water

Orange County’s most recent water plan, published April 2016, indicates the County can meet its water needs through 2040 without the plant. And Orange County has a range of less expensive, more sustainable options for developing new water supplies.

According to the Pacific Institute, water conservation and efficiency improvements − like those called for in the state’s new water plan − could reduce water use by a third.

2. It’s a Bad Deal for Consumers

The billion-dollar plant would increase water bills for hard-working families to line the pockets of Poseidon and its parent company Brookfield Infrastructure Partners.

Poseidon wants Orange County to sign a 50-year ‘take or pay’ contract that commits ratepayers to buying the county’s most expensive water and guarantees returns for Poseidon.

Orange County has firsthand experience with the high cost of public-private partnerships that put corporate profits above public benefit.

3. Poseidon Has Failed Before

Poseidon’s Carlsbad plant has failed to deliver a fifth of the water promised to San Diego County Water Authority, and racked up more than a dozen water quality violations during its first year of operations.

The proposed Huntington Beach plant does not meet state rules designed to reduce environmental impacts, and Poseidon has resisted the push to modernize and comply.

4. Poseidon Will Diminish Our Water Quality

Orange County’s state-of-the-art water recycling facility produces twice the capacity of Poseidon’s proposed plant for a fraction of the cost; it is being expanded now.

Orange County still discharges about 100 million gallons of water into the ocean every day, indicating that there are additional reuse opportunities.

5. It Will Harm Valuable Ocean Fisheries

Outdated intake pipes will suck up tons of plankton, eggs, fish and shellfish, damaging California’s globally significant marine ecosystems.

Chemical-laden brine will pollute the water near nine marine protected areas.

Despite claims by Poseidon’s lobbyists, seawater desalination will not reduce stress on the San Francisco Bay-Delta or other freshwater systems.

6. It Would Undermine California’s Climate Goals

Desalination is the most energy intensive way to produce fresh water, using three times more energy than water recycling.

The proposed location is vulnerable to floods from storms and rising seas.