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.
It wasn’t my finest moment.
I was hiking the Owens River Gorge in mid-July. Usually that would be as smart as planting your hands on a stove burner turned to high.
Severe thunderstorms in the eastern Sierra above Bishop prompted a last minute change in plans. And given that the temperature in the Owens Valley that day was predicted to be 20 degrees cooler than the previous day’s high it was the perfect opportunity to take a hike in an area where the heat makes it a seriously insane proposition between June and September.
Before Los Angeles got is claws into Owens Valley to divert snowmelt and draw down the high desert water tables to essentially bleed Eastern California and stunt its economic growth all so the City of Angels could prosper beyond the means of its water basin, the gorge carried water tapped into by farmers and ranchers working the land.
Governor Gavin Newsom recently released the final version of the 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio to help guide California water policy moving forward. The initial draft proposal of the portfolio was announced back in January and now includes 14 new actions after receiving input from more than 200 individuals and organizations during the comment period. The water blueprint outlines 142 policy priorities for state agencies to emphasize.
San Diego officials have agreed to the first “project labor agreement” in city history to help resolve legal challenges that have stalled Pure Water, a $5 billion sewage recycling system that would produce one-third of the city’s water.
Poseidon Water could be headed back to the drawing board to better compensate for the marine life expected to be killed by its proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach.
After hearings this week for one of two remaining major permits needed for the project, several members of the Regional Water Quality Control Board indicated they were dissatisfied with the proposed mitigation for the larvae and other small marine life that would die as a result of the plant’s ocean intake pipes.
Progress continues on the city’s $66.3-million North Pleasant Valley Groundwater Desalter Facility, which has received nearly $5 million in federal funding.
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.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new blueprint for California water policy offers a stay-the-course agenda for projects and policies intended to help cope with a warming climate and more volatile weather patterns that already are affecting the state’s irrigation, environmental and drinking water supplies. There are no moonshots and few surprises, and that’s fine; it will be challenging enough to ensure that all Californians are hooked up to safe and reliable water supplies to meet their needs for the coming decade and beyond.