California rejects Huntington Beach desalination plant
The California Coastal Commission has unanimously rejected the Huntington Beach desalination plant project proposed by Poseidon Water. Despite the promised 50 million gallons of water per day, the commission decided it wasn’t worth the risk to marine life and residents’ water bills.
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“The project would kill marine life in an estimated 275 million gallons of seawater per day,” desalination expert Tom Luster said, as reported by The Associated Press.
Related: Can a Controversial Desalination Plant Ease California’s Drought?
California is facing a mega-drought, which is expected to get even worse. Water levels in Nevada’s Lake Mead have receded to historic lows. But conservation groups have spoken out against the desalination plant, with some going so far as to accuse those in favor of wanting to “keep watering the walkways and having lavish water-wasting landscapes,” according to the ABC station. from Los Angeles. KABC.
Desalination plants are notoriously expensive, at around two or three times the cost of water conservation measures like wastewater reuse. Orange County already has a groundwater recharge system. It pumps 35 million gallons per day into injection wells, where it forms a seawater intrusion barrio. It pumps about 65 million gallons per day into percolation ponds in Anaheim. There the water filters through gravel and sand into aquifers to increase the supply of drinking water.
Poseidon Water built a desalination plant in San Diego County in 2015, which now supplies about 10% of the county’s water. The desalination giant was disappointed by the California Coastal Commission’s decision regarding Huntington Beach. Poseidon said in a statement: “California continues to face a punishing drought, with no end in sight. Every day we see new calls for conservation as reservoir levels drop to dangerous levels. We strongly believe that this desalination project would have created a sustainable, drought-tolerant source of water.
It’s a scary situation. But for now, the commission and conservation groups are passing off marine life and cheaper water bills on the convenience of desalination.
Main image via Pexels