Mr. Steve Kinsey, Chairman
California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2219
Re: SUPPORT for the Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Facility
Dear Chairman Kinsey:
The Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project has undergone extensive scientific analysis and regulatory scrutiny through the permitting process for more than a decade. In November 2013 the Coastal Commission directed Poseidon and its staff to jointly facilitate an independent, science-based determination of the feasibility of subsurface seawater intake technologies. After more than two years of study and public participation, the Coastal Commission’s Independent Scientific & Technical Advisory Panel issued two written reports concluding that subsurface seawater intake technologies at Huntington Beach are infeasible according to the Coastal Act definition.
The task directed by the Commission in 2013 has now been fulfilled, and I ask that the Commission approve the Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project. The project complies with the State Water Board’s recently adopted Desalination Policy and will provide 50 million gallons per day of clean drinking water – enough for about 400,000 Orange County’s residents – and provide the county with flexibility in how it manages its precious groundwater basin.
The Orange County Water District has approved a term sheet to negotiate the purchase up to 50 million gallons per day (56,000 acre feet per year) of drinking water from the proposed project and has identified the Huntington Beach Project is the single largest source of new local water supply available to the County.
Additionally, the Municipal Water District of Orange County has certified its current Urban Water Management Plan and noted that it is currently importing about 225,000 acre-feet of water. Thanks to water use efficiency and increased water recycling, MWDOC anticipates being able to reduce its imported water needs in 2040 to about 200,000 acre-feet of water. That is still nearly four times the amount that the desalination project will produce. Consistent with Governor Brown’s Water Action Plan, Orange County is working to wean itself off of imported water and become more self-reliant. This is a project that will bring jobs, tax revenue and most importantly a new, drought-proof water supply to Orange County.
In 2007, the Coastal Commission approved Poseidon Water’s Carlsbad desalination project after determining that project was fully protective of coastal resources. It has been operating successfully since December 2015. Orange County deserves the same opportunity for water supply independence that San Diego County has today. Please vote to approve the Coastal Development Permit and allow this project to move forward.
cc: Ms. Danya Bochco, Vice Chair, California Coastal Commission
Ms. Mary Shallenberger, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
Ms. Effie Turnbull-Sanders, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
Ms. Mary Luévano, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
Mr. Roberto Uranga, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
Ms. Carole Groom, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
Ms. Martha McClure, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
Ms. Wendy Mitchell, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
Mr. Gregory Cox, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
Mr. Mark Vargas, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
Mr. Erik Howell, Commissioner, California Coastal Commission
The Hon. Jerry Brown, Governor, State of California
The Hon. Kevin DeLeón, State Senate Pro Tem, State of California
The Hon. Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly, State of California
Mr. John Laird, Secretary, Natural Resources Agency
Mr. Jack Ainsworth, Interim Executive Director, California Coastal Commission
Mr. Tom Luster, Environmental Scientist, California Coastal Commission