Those supporting Poseidon Water’s plans to build a saltwater-to-freshwater conversion factory on the Huntington Beach coast certainly hoped the desalination project would be moving forward in earnest by now.
A December 2019 vote on the desalination plant was put off, however, and Poseidon would have to wait a few more months before knowing whether it would be allowed to go forward with its ambitious $1 billion project.
Members of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board are expected to make a decision on Poseidon’s project in April. Will the board finally approve the permits Poseidon has been seeking for several years?
A completely passive solar-powered desalination system developed by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and in China could provide more than 1.5 gallons of fresh drinking water per hour for every square metre of solar collecting area.
Such systems could potentially serve off-grid arid coastal areas to provide an efficient, low-cost water source, said MIT doctoral students in a paper appearing in the journal ‘Energy and Environmental Science’.
The key to the system’s efficiency lies in the way it uses each of the multiple stages to desalinate the water. At each stage, heat released by the previous stage is harnessed instead of wasted. In this way, the team’s demonstration device can achieve an overall efficiency of 385 percent in converting the energy of sunlight into the energy of water evaporation.
Understanding why desalination is so critical to California’s water future is a lot like building a personal budget. With a changing climate, growing population and booming economy, we need to include desalination in the water supply equation to help make up an imported water deficit.
In an effort to solve water shortage issues in the U.S. state of California, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered key state agencies to develop a blueprint for meeting California’s 21st century water needs, to ensure safe and resilient water supplies, flood protection and healthy waterways for the state’s communities, economy and environment.
Two solutions in which composites play a significant role are wastewater purification (which was featured in CW‘s January 2020 feature “Composites help take the waste out of wastewater”) and, the focus of this report, seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination.
The problem in California is easy to understand, but difficult to solve: The original configuration of rivers, streams, lakes, bays and underground water (aquifers) in California has been reconfigured so extensively over the years to accommodate a growing population and conflicting interests that these resources cannot be relied upon to meet future water needs — even the near future.
As Groundwater Basins ‘Rest,’ Santa Barbara Looks to Reservoirs for Future Water Supplies – California
It’s been more than eight years since Lake Cachuma filled up and spilled, and groundwater basins all over Santa Barbara County are at historically low levels after being heavily pumped during the long drought.
Groundwater well pumps are off to help basins “rest,” and it will take an estimated five years for the basins to recover from the drought, water supply analyst Dakota Corey told the city’s Water Commission at Thursday’s meeting. That’s how long it took after the drought in the early 1990s, she said.
The Santa Ana Regional Water Board held a workshop on Dec. 6 on the permit renewal of Poseidon Water’s proposed Huntington Beach desalination project; the permit is on pace for a final vote in April 2020.
Poseidon Water is seeking to build a $1 billion desalination plant on a 12-acre parcel at the current AES Huntington Beach Generating Station on Newland Street. Previous permits were issued in 2006 and 2012, under which no construction took place. The proposed permit is the third generation of the discharger’s permit.
The facility would produce an average volume of 50 million gallons per day (MGD) of potable water from salt water from the Pacific Ocean through a reverse osmosis process. The plant would use the AES intake and discharge systems, but would be required to modify the systems to reduce intake and mortality to all forms of marine life before beginning operation.
With Poseidon Water’s plans for a Huntington Beach desalination plant approaching the homestretch, critics were as adamant as ever at a Friday workshop, where dozens complained the proposal is environmentally flawed, unneeded and would jack up water rates.
Approval rides on whether the board determines the drought-proof project will “use the best available site, design, technology and mitigation measures feasible to minimize the intake and mortality of all forms of marine life.”