OCWD blocks study of alternatives to Poseidon, misleading State Lands Commission.




by John Earl, for Surf City Voice.

Representatives of the Orange County Water District gave false information at a public hearing of the California State Lands Commission to push a proposed $1 billion ocean desalination plant closer to final approval.

The OCWD manages the Santa Ana River Basin and provides north Orange County with 75 percent of its water.

The developer, Poseidon Resources, wants to build the desal plant on state-owned coastal land in southeast Huntington Beach. The plant would produce about 56,000 acre-feet of drinking water from local seawater per year under a 30 to 50-year take-or-pay contract with the OCWD.

The hearing was held in Huntington Beach last October 19. The SLC approved a supplemental Environmental Impact Report for the project and extended Poseidon’s 2010 lease with minor changes until 2025.

OCWD Board of Directors  Dina Nguyen, Cathy Green, Shawn Dewane, Steven Sheldon, with president Denis Bilodeau speaking on their behalf, claimed that the board studied the project alternatives and that there is a demonstrated need for the project:

“I guess what I’m looking for,” Commissioner Betty Yee asked, skeptically, “is have you fully considered all these [alternatives] before really looking at the water to be produced by the site, which is obviously going to be the most expensive?”

“Uh, yes. We certainly have,” Bilodeau assured. “Really, the only opportunity we have besides Poseidon is the expansion of the Groundwater Replenishment System [the District’s sewage recycling plant],” he claimed.

Yee pressed harder.

What’s missing, she said, “is the analysis of these alternative water sources as compared to what would be produced by the Poseidon facility.”

Then, Yee got to the heart of the matter:

“And it’s a little hard to figure out whether the Poseidon water that would be produced is really more – I’ll use the word arbitrary – with respect to a desire to replace imported water as compared to really being integral to meeting the overall water needs.”

Bilodeau: “Well, again, we have looked at all of the” –

Yee: “Or discretionary.”

Bilodeau: “Yeah. I mean, we are obviously looking at all of our alternatives.”

But the OCWD Board of Directors has all but officially backed the project since 2013, working intimately and secretly with Poseidon to see it through every stage of the permitting process…

(read the rest of the article at Surf City Voice)

Just SOME of our Previous Coverage of Poseidon:

About Surf City Voice

John Earl is the editor of SoCal Water Wars (previously Surf City Voice.) Frequent contributor Debbie Cook, a former Huntington Beach Mayor, is board president of the Post Carbon Institute.