After years of bureaucratic hurdles and increasing regulatory requirements, Poseidon Water was dealt yet another delay Friday, Aug. 7, in its pursuit of a controversial desalination plant in Huntington Beach. The Regional Water Quality Control Board concluded three days of hearings on the project’s next permit by telling Poseidon it must return with a more robust, more detailed mitigation plan to offset the environmental damage the project will cause.
State regional water officials have again delayed a decision on a controversial seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach, instead placing further requirements on the project’s company to reckon with the facility’s anticipated environmental damage.
As Poseidon Water pursues the final government approvals needed to build one of the country’s biggest seawater desalination plants, the company still cannot definitively say who will buy the 50 million gallons a day of drinking water it wants to produce on the Orange County coast.
Regional water board member Kris Murray is on track later this week to vote on a controversial desalination plant sponsored by a company and interest groups she took money from during past political campaigns.
State regulators have identified more than $6,000 in campaign contributions that Murray fundraised for her Anaheim city council campaigns in 2014 and 2015 and county supervisorial in 2018 from the project’s parent company, Poseidon Water, and two trade unions who voiced support for the project in recent years.
Amidst public protests and outstanding questions from regional water officials — about what kind of deal they’re getting into on a controversial desalination plant for Huntington Beach — a final decision on the project has been pushed to next week, Aug. 7.
The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board on Friday held a second day of public hearings before board members vote on the project proposal’s wastewater discharge permit.
If the permit is approved, Poseidon Water, the company proposing the desal plant, would clear a major hurdle after two-decades of pushing it near the final stretch to getting it completely authorized for construction.
The last step for the company would be to get another permit approved by the state Coastal Commission.
After more than 20 years of developing plans for a Huntington Beach desalination plant and winding its way through a seemingly endless bureaucratic approval process, Poseidon Water comes to a key juncture as the Regional Water Quality Control Board votes on whether to grant a permit after hearings this week.
The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board on July 22 was presented with the California Association of Public Information Officials Award of Distinction for excellence in public information and communications. As a collaborative project with the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Sweetwater Authority and the Otay Water District received the award from CAPIO earlier this month for innovative communications for the Hydro Station Education Experience.
The Hydro Station at Sweetwater’s Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, hosts learning exhibits and hands-on activities to introduce 4,000 local students annually to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry. The Hydro Station is made possible through a partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, Chula Vista Elementary School District, and the Otay Water District.
Hydro Station Education Experience opened in August 2019
“It is exciting to be on a Board that values the importance of strategic partnerships,” said Governing Board Chair Steve Castaneda. “We are working with the Chula Vista Elementary School District and the Otay Water District to provide educational opportunities for students in our service area and to expose local children to a career path that could position them as tomorrow’s water leaders.”
The program opened in August 2019 after months of planning and collaboration with its partners.
The Authority’s Communications Committee Chair, José F. Cerda, is a long-time advocate of the partnership.
“As a former Chula Vista Elementary School District educator, I have seen the impacts that these sort of innovative classroom experiences can have on students and their families,” said Cerda. “I am so proud of the work that we are doing at the Authority and being an industry leader in creating and developing experiences for the children in our community.”
The Hydro Station will resume in a virtual format for students in the Chula Vista Elementary School District next month.
Prospective bidders for the proposed Aqaba-Amman Water Desalination and Conveyance Project will now have until 11 August to submit qualification documents for the 25-year BOT project. In its initial phase, the facility will deliver 274,000 m3/d (72.4 MGD) of desalinated seawater and 82,000 m3/d (21.7 MGD) of abstracted groundwater 350km (220 mi) from Aqaba to Amman.
New fish-friendly seawater intake pumps recently commissioned at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant are among the most environmentally advanced intake pumps in the world.
The three intake pumps, manufactured by Indar, are part of a broader effort to ensure the long-term health of the marine environment near the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which sits on the shores of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.
Public support for proposed desalination plants in Huntington Beach and Dana Point appears strong in two recent polls, although opponents call the surveys biased and say neither poll addresses key obstacles facing these very different projects.
One poll showed 76% support among Huntington Beach residents for the proposal there. Another said support ranged from 64% to 80% for the project located near Doheny State Beach, depending on how the question was framed.