Controversy Follows California's Massive Desalination Plant Proposal

Poseidon Water, a massive desalination project proposed for the Pacific coast in Huntington Beach, has been in the works for more than two decades. A critical vote is expected for the project next month.

2 minute read

April 25, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


An energy production facility rises above a wetlands along the Pacific Ocean.

The Huntington Beach Wetlands and the Huntington Beach Energy Center are the proposed site for the Poseidon Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Plant. | Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock

The Poseidon Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Plant, proposed for the Pacific coast in Huntington Beach, will face a critical vote by the California Coastal Commission (CCC) in May.

The controversial desalination project has been in the works for more than two decades, sparking controversy between two competing versions of sustainability.

Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Ian James summarizes the controversy:

The long-running fight over the proposal encompasses contentious issues such as the effects on marine life, power requirements and whether the low-lying site is vulnerable to sea-level rise, as well as the company’s heavy political lobbying for the lucrative project.

And:

At the heart of the debate, there are fundamental arguments about whether Orange County really needs the water, how the area should adapt to worsening droughts with climate change, and whether the costs would be a reasonable investment to secure reliable water or an exorbitant megaproject that would mean higher water rates for decades to come.

Leading the opposition, according to James, is a coalition of environmental groups called Stop Poseidon. California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Coastal Protection Network, Orange County Coastkeeper, and the Surfrider Foundation, comprise the coalition, along with others.

The feature-length article provides a lot more detail about the debate ahead of next month’s historic vote by the CCC.

Planetizen coverage of Poseidon Water:

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