Desalination Deal Draws Criticism From Groups Concerned About Water Affordability

Last night, Orange County Water District voted 6-2 to approve terms for a new, non-binding agreement with privately-owned Poseidon Water for a Huntington Beach desalination project. If the District decides to move ahead with the deal once the plant is fully permitted, the agreement would commit Orange County ratepayers to buying Poseidon’s desalinated water for 30-35 years, while guaranteeing a significant profit for Poseidon’s investors. The billion-dollar desalination proposal has been widely opposed by local activists. Conservation and equity groups are concerned about its impact on water affordability, as well as its anticipated pollution of groundwater and ocean water, harm to sea life, and carbon emissions.