Desalination Can Provide a Drought-Proof Water Supply for Orange County
Seawater desalination can help bring Orange County closer to water independence. According to the Orange County Water District (OCWD) website, “Even if heavy rains occur one year, OCWD will continue to see instability in water supplies for potentially decades. Ocean desalination is the kind of critical investment in water reliability that OCWD has been making for more than 80 years and deserves careful consideration.”
The multiyear drought California faced required Governor Brown to declare a water emergency and implement water rationing. Water restrictions like what Orange County suffered through reinforces the need for the state to further develop new sources that enhance regional water supply self-reliance. California’s 840-mile coastline provides strategic access to the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest reservoir, which is capable of providing the state with a new, sustainable and drought-proof water supply.
Since 2015, Poseidon Water’s Carlsbad desalination project has provided California with the largest and most technologically advanced seawater desalination plant in the western hemisphere. The facility has reduced the need for San Diego County to import 56,000 acre feet of water per year from Northern California and protects the region and its economy from the effects of drought.
Poseidon’s proposed Huntington Beach desalination project is in the final phase of permitting and requires a lease renewal from the State Lands Commission, a permit renewal from the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board and an approval from the Coastal Commission before construction can begin. Poseidon is committed to working with the all of these regulatory agencies so that Orange County has the same opportunity as San Diego County to drought-proof its water supply.
The Orange County Water District has this webpage dedicated to ocean desalination.
OCWD states, “Desalinated ocean water could represent an important future source in diversifying the mix of water supplies for Orange County and reducing the region’s need for imported water. Without the development of new local supplies, agencies will have to seek more imported water, which is less reliable and about three times more costly than local groundwater. It’s OCWD’s duty to explore whether ocean desalination is a good option to provide long-term water supply reliability for Orange County.”