OC Residents Fighting Poseidon – since 2006!




Crowd at Coastal Commission hearing, 2013. Yes, this is dragging on and on.

Note: This story was first published in the print newspaper, Orange Coast Voice, in December, 2006. The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board is scheduled to vote on the Poseidon project on July 31, 2020. This and other previously stories are being recirculated between now and July 31 for concerned readers who seek background on the project and wish to contact the Regional Board with their concerns at RB8-PoseidonHB.comments@waterboards.ca.gov . Please share this article on social media; and, please donate to the Surf City Voice to help support our efforts to inform you.

By John Earl, 2006

AES power generating plant in Huntington Beach. Photo: Surf City Voice

Concerned local residents and environmental protection groups are suing to force the City of Huntington Beach to withdraw certification of a desalination plant and restart the approval process in compliance with all applicable environmental protection laws.

Designed to be one of the largest of its kind ever built in the Western Hemisphere, the proposed desalination plant–which would convert 100 million gallons of seawater into 50 million gallons of drinking water per day–would sit on 11 acres of land adjacent to the AES power plant in SE Huntington Beach on the corner of Newland Ave. and Pacific Coast Hwy.

Gus Ayer fighting Poseidon shortly before his tragic 2013 death.

The project would be developed by Poseidon Resources Inc., a multi-national private corporation that is a “leading developer of water and wasterwater public-private partnerships in North America” and the largest owner of private water facilities in Mexico, according to its parent company, Warburg Pincus, a massive investment firm with holdings in over 120 companies around the world, in a variety of industries, including healthcare, media, technology, and energy.

The project was approved last February (2006) after several years of contentious debate.

Surf City Voice cartoon from 2010, with pliant 4-member HB council majority.  Cathy Green got onto the OC Water District board, and is still there shilling for Poseidon.

Poseidon and the HB City Council majority (Hansen, Bohr, Coerper, and Green, right) with support from local construction unions, depicted the project as an environmentally friendly and risk free financial windfall for the city that would aide in shoring up local infrastructure and guarantee water in times of local shortage or statewide emergency.

Project opponents pointed out that Poseidon had yet to construct a successful desalination plant and that its Tampa Bay plant was shut down for lengthy repairs after suffering serious technical failures, multiple bankruptcies, and huge cost overruns at taxpayers’ expense.

The Tampa Bay plant has been inoperable since 2003.

Poseidon’s purchase of corrupt Latino support has recently resulted in youthful Latinx opposition.

Predictably, in the ongoing debate over private vs. public ownership of water resources, Poseidon supporters blamed local government for its Tampa Bay failure. They claim that Poseidon will be taking all of the financial risks for its proposed Huntington Beach project.

But Residents for Responsible Desalination (R4RD), a local opposition group born in SE Huntington Beach next to the proposed plant location, brought up a myriad of concerns that it says were ignored or inadequately considered in Poseidon’s Environmental Impact Report…

Read the rest of this classic article… and so much more … at Surf City Voice!


A caricature of the god Poseidon that the OJ Blog frequently borrows from the defunct OC Weekly.

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.