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No Easy Fixes for Water Shortage

ROSE PALMISANO/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Huntington Beach Generating Station

If Southern California has such a water shortage, why don’t we just build desalination plants and use the abundant water from the Pacific Ocean? That sounds easy, but there are environmental and economic problems to overcome, as Poseiden Resources, Stamford, Connecticut, found out in Orange County.

Since 1998 the firm has proposed a desalinization plant – one of the largest in the United States – for a site in Huntington Beach. The concept would be to locate right next to the Huntington Beach Generating Station, which already takes water from the ocean and merely tap into that water source. The new plant would supply 100,000 households.

Oh, no, cry local environmentalists, backed by the California Coastal Commission. Such a plan would have adverse effects on sea life, including destroying fish larvae.

Oh, no, cry local water interests. The price of water would be too high – who would buy it?

And so, Poseiden is looking at other plans which might not use the generating plant water but would require a huge investment in intake and discharge equipment, bringing the cost even higher.


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