Orange County Breeze: Another statewide poll shows Californians want more seawater desalination

Yet another statewide public opinion survey shows Californians overwhelmingly support building more seawater desalination plants to address the state’s ongoing water needs. In a survey released by Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) of over 1,700 Californians, 67 percent of adults are in favor of desalination. The poll showed majority support across parties and regions, and across age, education, income and racial/ethnic groups.

“In the wake of the historic drought, most Californians favor building desalination plants on the California coast, and most think that their local government is doing enough to conserve water,” Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO.

The state is currently considering a large-scale seawater desalination project in Huntington Beach that would produce 56,000 acre feet per year (50 million gallons per day) of locally controlled, drought-proof drinking water. That’s enough drinking water for 400,000 residents. The facility would be a public-private partnership between the Orange County Water District and Poseidon Water.

In a separate poll conducted earlier this year by Tulchin Research and commissioned by the William C. Velasquez Institute, Californians overwhelmingly (87 percent) said they would pay a few dollars more a month for desalinated water.

“Every statewide survey on seawater desalination demonstrates overwhelming, bipartisan support,” said Scott Maloni, Poseidon Vice President. “Californians understand that it imperative that we prepare for the effects of climate change, which includes drought. Desal provides a cost-competitive, environmentally responsible and drought-proof, locally controlled water source for coastal communities.”

The Huntington Beach project will be the first large-scale desalination facility in the world in an open ocean setting to include passive 1.0-mm slot wedgewire intake screen with a through-screen water velocity of less than 0.5 ft/sec. In addition, the plant will use the latest reverse osmosis purification technology, include a state-of-the-art diffuser to ensure low salinity levels, and will be the first large-scale water treatment plant in California to be 100% carbon neutral.

Poseidon Water has also proposed a plan to offer funding to restore and maintain the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, providing much needed funding for the restoration and maintenance of one of California’s last remaining large-scale wetlands.