Poseidon’s “Reliability” Promise: Pay More, Get the Same!




Sarmiento at the OCWD – pic by John Earl

First a note from Vern the humble editor:  Vince Sarmiento (right) is running for Santa Ana Mayor, and some of my friends think he’s the best choice out of a bad bunch;  he is also currently President of the OC Water District Board, and has been on that Board for most of the last seven years, during which time we’ve never heard him say a word or cast a vote against the Poseidon desal proposal.  (And the boondoggle would be dead if it weren’t for OCWD support.)

Yesterday he came (via Zoom) to Los Amigos to ask for our support, and your humble editor called him on his apparent acquiescence to Poseidon, pointing out that it’s hard to trust any politician who would risk saddling the public with such an obviously bad project.  Vince assured us all that there exists a “poison pill,” which will prevent the project from ever happening. What is this poison pill? Well, Vince says he is bound by instructions from the SA council to explore “any alternatives” for extra water, but to only pursue them if they are “cost-neutral,” which everybody knows Poseidon, or desal in general, can never be.  So ergo, despite all of his votes in favor, Poseidon can never really happen

That doesn’t seem good enough, and I told him he sounds like a passive spectator.  “Why don’t you let your voice, your vote be the poison pill?”  He replied that he has to do what his council instructed him to do, and still explore all alternatives.  “Well, since you know Poseidon will never be cost-neutral, why don’t you agendize a Council discussion on it, explain that to your colleagues, and get them to change their instructions?”  “That’s a good idea, maybe I’ll do that.”

But of course he won’t, AT LEAST not before this mayoral election – he would piss off too many construction unions, and they would support someone else and attack him.  Politicians…

But look at me going on, this is supposed to be John Earl’s story.  Let me just remind you that the July 31 Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Board hearing on Poseidon is fast approaching, and it would be really helpful if we could get them not to approve it.  For more info on that meeting, how to comment and observe, click on this Surf City Voice link.  Meanwhile, here’s John:

Poseidon’s “Reliability” Promise:

Pay More, Don’t Get More!

by John Earl, Surf City Voice

Poseidon’s reliability argument [that the public needs to pay more in order to have a “reliable” source of water] rests on the false assertion that a plethora of other much cheaper and less environmentally harmful water sources, including conservation (and none of which were studied by the project’s lead agency, the Orange County Water District, as alternatives to the project), are unreliable and that the ocean provides a limitless supply of drinking water for the future in Orange County, albeit for an extra “reliability premium.”

John Earl

Poseidon’s reliability argument also falsely assumes that the ocean’s fragile and already severely damaged ecosystem is eternally impervious to the destruction of marine life its project would cause through its seawater intake and outflow systems, an issue that is also central to the upcoming permit hearings before the regional water board.

But underlying every other aspect of the proposed Poseidon ocean desalination project is that, if nothing else, it is a corporate scam for which the ratepayers of the Orange County Water District will pay dearly.

These issues, examined in my article below, related to the permit hearing of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board scheduled for July 30, 31, and possibly August 7 as well (information on how to digitally participate are provided).

Continue reading here, and please consider supporting the crucial work John does…

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

About Surf City Voice

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