The Desalination Development Act would provide $260 million over five years for desalination projects across the country, including Oceanside’s Mission Basin Groundwater Purification Facility, which converts brackish flows into potable water, said Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano).
Environmentalists say desalination decimates ocean life, costs too much money and energy, and soon will be made obsolete by water recycling. But as Western states face an epic drought, regulators appear ready to approve a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, California.
After spending 22 years and $100 million navigating a thicket of state regulations and environmentalists’ challenges, Poseidon Water is down to one major regulatory hurdle – the California Coastal Commission.
Sacramento politicians worry about what they always focus on—where will money come from for that next election. Of course they focus on Big Oil and Gas donations. The people can’t afford to fund elections anymore with million dollar and up price tags.
Notably, the governor’s emergency proclamation did not impose water conservation mandates. Instead, Newsom is leaving water conservation to each region — a smart and necessary approach that incentivizes regional investments in water supply.
The 2021 California drought is as bad if not worse as the one in 2014, which endured for five long, dry years. As of Friday, 33 percent is in a state of “exceptional drought,” the most severe drought category given by the federal U.S. Drought Monitor.
Farmers in the Central Valley are ripping up almond trees, according to Bloomberg. Those living along the headwaters of the Russian River in Mendicino County have been told to use no more than 55 gallons per day – enough to flush a toilet six times, according to CalMatters.
While the water districts of south Orange County appear well-poised to handle this second year of drought, most of that region is almost entirely dependent on imported water and officials are busy developing alternative sources.
An online gathering of top water officials on Friday, June 25, detailed the current water availability in south county and outlined projects to supplant imports should future flows from northern California and the Colorado River be curtailed by dwindling supplies or interrupted by earthquakes.
“The bad news for California as a whole and the West overall is that we’re in a serious drought,” said Rob Hunter, general manager of the Municipal Water District of Orange County. His district receives imported water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and distributes it to local agencies in the county.
The plan highlights how a regional commitment to a “water portfolio approach” to supply management means San Diego County will continue to have reliable water supplies through 2045, even during multiple dry years.
The board approved the final plan following a public hearing on March 25 and a 60-day public comment period which ended May 6. The final plan will be submitted to the California Department of Water Resources by the July 1 deadline.
After experiencing a severe drought in the early 1990s, San Diego County officials went to work on diversifying its water supply. At the time, the region was hit with 50 percent supply reductions because it relied almost entirely on a single source.
Since then, however, the San Diego County Water Authority has taken a varied approach. According to the authority, the region has added a new transfer of conserved agriculture water from Imperial Valley and completed the All-American and Coachella Canal lining projects to receive conserved water from the Colorado River.
Poseidon will still need to get approval from the California Coastal Commission in order to move forward with plans and will still need to finalize a purchase agreement with the Orange County Water District in order to have customers.
At the continued Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board hearing on April 29, the board voted 4-3 to approve a permit for Poseidon’s project after discussing and clarifying language, mitigation, and discharge requirements.